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The Impact of Physical Attractiveness on Achievement and Psychological Well-Being

Debra Umberson and Michael Hughes
Social Psychology Quarterly
Vol. 50, No. 3 (Sep., 1987), pp. 227-236
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2786823
Page Count: 10
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The Impact of Physical Attractiveness on Achievement and Psychological Well-Being
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Abstract

Physical attractiveness has been linked to mental health, intelligence, ability and performance. Most of the studies on attractiveness have been experimental in nature and focused on perceptions of mental health and achievement rather than actual mental health and achievement. Operating within a status characteristics framework, we analyze the impact of attractiveness on the actual achievement and mental health of individuals in a national sample. We find consistently significant and monotonic relationships of attractiveness with four measures of achievement and eight measures of psychological well-being. Based on these analyses, we conclude that survey research findings corroborate experimental findings on attractiveness; that one's attractiveness does impinge on achievement and psychological well-being; and that status characteristics theory can be used to explain the effects of attractiveness on well-being and achievement.

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