Weight (Mis)perceptions and Sexual Behavior Among U.S. Emerging Adults

Virginia Ramseyer Winter, Antoinette M. Landor, Andrea Kennedy, Meghan M. Gillen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this paper was to examine the relationship between weight misperception, age at first intercourse, and lifetime number of sex partners. We used Wave III of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (N = 11,522; 53.7% female), collected in 2001–2002. Results show that men who underestimate their weight have more lifetime sexual partners compared to men who accurately assess their weight. Women who underestimate their weight had fewer sexual partners and a higher age at first intercourse compared to women who accurately assess their weight. White participants who overestimated their weight had an earlier age of first intercourse, African Americans who underestimated their weight had more sexual partners, and weight misperception was not related to sexual behaviors among Hispanic and Asian participants. These findings suggest that weight underestimation’s relationship to sexual behaviors may differ by gender and race.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1467-1483
Number of pages17
JournalEmerging Adulthood
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


Dive into the research topics of 'Weight (Mis)perceptions and Sexual Behavior Among U.S. Emerging Adults'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this