Does a taller husband make his wife happier?

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Happy couple

It is known that women prefer tall men in romantic relationships. For instance, a French survey showed that 41% of women clearly mentioned tallness as a desirable trait, whereas only 7.5% men did.

This male height preference is from evolution. In ancient time, taller men were thought to be stronger and could provide more resources and protection. As a result, women tended to chose tall men for mating.

But one question remains: does a taller husband make his wife happier? A recently study published in Personality and Individual Differences provided an answer.

Researchers analyzed two large datasets from longitudinal surveys (Indonesian Family Life Survey and Indonesian Family Life Survey East). The surveys had data from 30,000+ people in 9000+ households.

In the survey, people rated their overall happiness (i.e. very happy, happy, unhappy, very unhappy).

Researchers found that on average, husbands were 10.9 cm taller than wives. When the height difference increased 10 cm, wives’ responses of very happy increased 3.9%.

However, when researchers tested the impact of marriage duration, the effect changed. Although larger height difference and longer marriage duration meant more happiness, marriage duration reduced the impact of height difference on happiness.

That is to say, as a marriage continued, the husband’s height became less important to the wife’s happiness. In fact, when a marriage lasted 18 years, the impact of the husband’s height on the wife’s happiness was completely gone.

Researchers suggest that a man’s height plays an important role in his wife’s happiness, especially in the beginning. Nevertheless, as they get married longer and longer, his height is more and more trivial.


Citation: Sohn K. (2016). Does a taller husband make his wife happier? Personality and Individual Differences, 91: 14-21. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2015.11.039
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