Previous studies found important associations between body image, sexual satisfaction, and perceived romantic relationship quality, but mainly focused on one individual’s perceptions rather than both partners. To take the interdependency of romantic partners into account, the present study examined these associations in romantic couples with a dyadic approach. In a cross-sectional design, 151 Dutch heterosexual couples completed an online survey measuring body image, sexual satisfaction, and perceived relationship quality. Hypotheses were tested using the actor–partner interdependence model (APIM) and an APIM extended with a mediator (APIMeM), with couple members’ body image as predictors, couple members’ sexual satisfaction as mediators, and couple members’ relationship quality as outcomes. Results indicated that within individuals, a more positive body image was linked to higher perceived romantic relationship quality through greater sexual satisfaction. No gender differences were found, implying that body image and sexual satisfaction are equally strongly associated with perceived relationship quality in women and men. Results revealed no associations of an individual’s body image and sexual satisfaction with the partner’s perceived relationship quality. These findings implicate that interventions focusing on developing and maintaining a positive body image may be helpful in building on a more satisfying sex life and higher perceived relationship quality

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Keywords body image, sexual satisfaction, perceived relationship quality, romantic couples, dyadic approach
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Journal Journal of Family Psychology
ten Brink, F., Vollmann, M, Smeets, M.A.M., Hessen, D.J., & Woertman, L. (2018). Relationships between body image, sexual satisfaction, and relationship quality in romantic couples. Journal of Family Psychology, 32, 466–474. doi:10.1037/fam0000407