Psychology/Beauty & Health


Is there any real connection between beauty and health? I know symmetry is often an indicator of both beauty and health but for those of qualities that aren't clearly health related, but do affect attractiveness, can it be said that more attractive people have fewer health afflictions? I am wondering how smart evolution is and how worried I should be to not be beautiful. lol. I read some studies that gave attractive people at least a 15% benefit in blood pressure, cancer, and the more common issues people have including depression.

What do we know on this and when two attractive people have a less attractive child together does this make he or she more prone to sickness?

James - I know of no studies that show a causative relationship between beauty and health.  There are a couple of studies that show slight correlations between attractiveness of children and health measures in middle age. Beautiful people are more likely to take good care of themselves, and be rewarded for doing so.  There is no known biological relationship between beauty and health. There are other factors involved as well - education, poverty, etc.  A 15% benefit in blood pressure is not clinically significant.  

That's like saying being beautiful decreases your risk of heart attack by 50 percent.  That means it went from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 5,000.  Not really significant.  Most of these studies are looking for some evolutionary benefit from beauty.  That is going to be difficult to find in a post-industrial modern society.  We have all kinds of tools to make ourselves more attractive - grooming, clothing, makeup, hair styling, clothing, plastic surgery.

You can have a perfectly wonderful and healthy life without being beautiful.  

No, the less attractive child of two attractive parents will NOT be more prone to sickness.  


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Katherine ONeill


I can answer academic questions about psychology. I am not a clinician (therapist), I am a research psychologist with expertise in biopsychology, general psychology, cognitive psychology, research methods and psychopharmacology.


I have 25 years experience as a researcher in health behavior, biopsychology and psychopharmacology.

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Applications of Market Research for Small Business UMBC Activate Program, March 2008 HIV/AIDS: An assessment of Need in the Continuum of Care. Optum Health Education., 12/2008 Maximizing the online medium for market research: Best practices. Market Research for Pharmaceuticals Conference, 12/06/2006 O誰eill, K.A. APD, ADD, ADHD and AD/HD: Personal and scientific reflections. Audiology Online, 6/6/2005. O誰eill, K.A. et al, Hyperactivity induced by NMDA injections into the nucleus accumbens. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior 34(4), Dec 1989, 739-745. O誰eill, K.A. and Liebman, J.M. Unique behavioral effects of the NMDA antagonist, CPP, upon injection into the medial prefrontal cortex of rats. Brain Research, 435(1-2), Dec 1987, 371-376. O誰eill, K.A. and Gertner, S.B. Effects of centally administered H2 antagonists on motor activity. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior. 264, 1987, 683-686. O誰eill, K.A. and Gertner, S.B. Effects of centrally administered H2 antagonists in the behavioral despair test. 90(2), 1986, 190-192. O誰eill, K.A. Chronic desipramine attenuates morphine analgesia. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior. 24(1), Jan 1986, 155 158. O誰eill, K.A. and Valentino, D. Escapability and generalization: Effect on 礎ehavioral despair. European Journal of Pharmacology 78(3), March 1982, 379-80. O誰eill, K.A. et al, An automated high capacity method for measuring jumping latencies on a hot plate. Journal of Pharmacological Methods, 10(1), Aug 1983, 13-18. O誰eill, K.A., Scott, C. and Weissman, A. Naloxone enhances nociceptive responding. Society for Neuroscience, Abstract 9: 274, 1983.

Ph.D. Experimental Psychology, University of Rhode Island, 1983. Post doctoral fellow dept of psychiatry, New York University Medical Center, 1983-1984. Post doctoral fellow, dept of pharmacology, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, 1984-1985.

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