The association of disordered eating and sexual health with relationship satisfaction in female service members/veterans

Rebecca K. Blais, Candice M. Monson, Whitney S. Livingston, Shira Maguen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Low relationship satisfaction is associated with mental health disorders in service members/veterans (SM/Vs), yet eating disordered behavior (EDB) and sexual function and satisfaction in SM/Vs are understudied. Those with EDB may experience bodily discomfort that may be associated with low relationship satisfaction because of avoidance of physical contact and intimacy, suggesting that sexual satisfaction and function may modify the association of EDB and relationship satisfaction. As the majority of female SM/Vs are partnered, it is imperative to study the association of sexual function and satisfaction with EDB and relationship satisfaction. Partnered female SM/Vs (N = 479) completed an online survey assessing demographic characteristics (e.g., relationship duration, deployment history), EDB, sexual satisfaction and function, and relationship satisfaction measures. Thirty-three percent, 20%, and 58% of the sample reported scores consistent with relational distress, probable eating disorder, and sexual dysfunction, respectively. After adjusting for covariates, EBD was negatively associated with relationship satisfaction with a small-to-medium effect size. Sexual satisfaction and function had a significant indirect effect on the association of EDB and relationship satisfaction, suggesting that sexual satisfaction and function accounted for some of the variance between these 2 variables. Screening for EDB, sexual satisfaction, and sexual function among partnered female SM/Vs may provide critical insight into mechanisms of relational distress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)176-182
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Volume33
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Eating disordered behavior
  • Female service members/veterans
  • Relationship satisfaction
  • Sexual health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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