Elizabeth Renter

A recent study finds that when a woman feels good about herself, she is more likely to feel good about her relationship. Women who have positive body images are able to spread that satisfaction throughout their life, including onto their spouse or romantic partner.

We’ve all likely heard the phrase, “when the mama’s happy, everyone’s happy,” but this recent study from Tallinn University in Estonia affirms the veracity of that statement.

"When a woman was satisfied with her relationship, she was also satisfied with her body weight, which also applies vice versa," said lead researcher Sabina Vatter. "Higher body-weight satisfaction results in higher satisfaction with a relationship.”

Vatter collected data from over 250 women between the ages of 20 and 45. Of those, 71.5 percent were living with a partner and 28.5 percent were married. They were surveyed on their relationship satisfaction as well as their body weight, self-esteem, body image and self-consciousness, and their history of dieting.

Women who felt good about themselves and how they looked were more likely to feel good about the state of their relationship, indicating how happy women are with their physical body impacts how happy they are with other various aspects of their lives.

"We also found that women who had previously been on a diet or being on diet during data collection were less satisfied with their body weight, weighed themselves more often, were more self-conscious and had higher BMI's than women who have not been on a diet,” added Vatter.

Modern women often struggle with positive body image as they are bombarded with information telling them they are somehow not “ideal.” From media images to diet books and fitness crazes, there seems to be a campaign to make women feel bad about their bodies. When they are able to successfully fight these counterproductive campaigns and focus on health and happiness, the results go further than a boosted self-image.

"In the past few decades, women tend to concentrate too much on their weight and tend to forget that the weight number is just a number," she said. "It doesn't show whether the woman is eating healthily, whether she is doing regular physical activity or whether she has a healthy lifestyle, which should be of a higher importance than weight or body shape."

Vatter will be presenting her findings at the Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society’s Division of Clinical Psychology in York.

Photo credit: Charlotte Astrid