Gender, BMI, and eating regulation in the context of same-sex and heterosexual couples

Charlotte N. Markey, Patrick M. Markey, Kristin J. August, Christopher S. Nave

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Research suggests that romantic partners may benefit each other’s health, but factors contributing to partners’ involvement in eating regulation have been relatively unexplored. In this study, 104 heterosexual couples, 72 female same-sex and 72 male same-sex couples were examined in order to understand how partners’ weight statuses were related to attempts to regulate eating behaviors. Weight status was assessed via body mass index and eating regulation was assessed using the Partner Feeding Questionnaire. Actor-Partner Interdependence Models revealed that gay men were particularly likely to regulate their partners’ eating behaviors. Additionally, partners were found to regulate their significant others’ eating behaviors when their significant others were heavy. Women were most likely to attempt to regulate their partners’ eating behaviors when they were thin and their partners were heavy. These findings are discussed in the context of current obesity trends and the role of romantic partners in healthy weight management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)398-407
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of behavioral medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychology(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


  • BMI
  • Eating regulation
  • Gay
  • Lesbian
  • Obesity
  • Romantic relationships
  • Social control
  • Weight status


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