Physical attractiveness and subjective well-being


Diener, E., Wolsic, B., & Fujita, F. (1995). Physical attractiveness and subjective well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69(1), 120-129.


Three studies were conducted to determine whether physical attractiveness (PAT) is related to subjective well-being (SWB). In the first study (N = 221), unselected students were photographed and videotaped. In the second study (N = 131), participants were selected on the basis of extremes in PAT, and in the third study (N = 155), participants were preselected for extreme scores on SWB. Correlations between SWB and PAT varied from .03 to .33. In Study 1 the mean correlation between PAT and SWB was .13. When appearance enhancers (hair, clothing, and jewelry) were covered or removed in Studies 2 and 3, the correlation between PAT and SWB dropped, suggesting that part of the SWB–PAT relation might be due to happier people doing more to enhance their beauty. The impact of PAT on SWB may be mitigated by the fact that others agree on a target's PAT at only modest levels. It was found that self-perceptions of PAT were correlated with both one's objective PAT and one's SWB.

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