Obesity and Dating in the Orthodox Jewish Community; The Role of Self-Esteem and Religious Coping
Ehrenpreis, Kiki Beth
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Obesity has been found to cause widespread psychosocial effects, particularly in the area of romantic relationships where obese females are often seen as undesirable. This study investigates how body weight is related to dating relationships in the Orthodox Jewish community. The primary hypothesis is that there will be a negative correlation between dating frequency and body mass index (BMI) for female participants. The variables of self-esteem and religious coping are examined relating to dating frequency. The Orthodox Jewish Dating Survey was completed by Orthodox Jewish singles (N = 558) ages 19 to 65, primarily from the United States, via surveymonkey.com. Other study instruments included the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale and the JCOPE Brief Jewish Religious Coping Scale. The results showed that excess weight is negatively associated with dating frequency. There was a significant effect of weight group on number of dates in the past three months for females; F(3,416) = 4.225, p = .006. There was a significant negative correlation between BMI and dating frequency in the past three months for females, r = -.179, p < .001. The relationship between self-esteem and dating frequency was not significant. However, there was a significant correlation between satisfaction with dating frequency and self esteem; r = .129, p = .002, as well as satisfaction and JCOPE; r = .101, p = .018. Future research can focus on building community awareness about the effect of weight on dating in order to help obese and overweight singles.