Body satisfaction is theorized to precede sexual satisfaction, which plays an integral role in romantic relationship stability and quality and may be negatively affected by negative partner feedback about the body. Using a daily diary study of mixed-sex married couples, I hypothesized (1) that individuals' daily body satisfaction would predict subsequent increases in individuals' and partners' sexual satisfaction from the previous day and (2) that negative body feedback from partners would negatively affect individuals' and partners' average sexual satisfaction over 21 days through effects on body satisfaction and body-related anxiety during sex. Results of multi-level modelling (MLM) supported Hypothesis 1: On days when individuals reported higher body satisfaction than their average, they and their partners experienced increases in sexual satisfaction from the previous day; however, on days when individuals reported higher sexual satisfaction than their average, they experienced increases in body satisfaction from the previous day. Results of actor-partner interdependence models extended to mediation (APIMeM) and path analyses partially supported Hypothesis 2: For women, body satisfaction and body-related anxiety during sex mediated associations between their reports of negative partner feedback and their own and their partner's sexual satisfaction; for men, body-related anxiety during sex mediated associations between their reports of negative partner feedback and their own but not their partner's sexual satisfaction. Results provide empirical support for a reciprocal association between body satisfaction and sexual satisfaction and highlight mediational and dyadic complexities in the relations between body satisfaction and sexual satisfaction.
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Thesis advisor: Cobb, Rebecca
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