Cynthia D. Mohr

Date of Award

Winter 3-30-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Psychology



Physical Description

1 online resource (viii, 114 pages)


Couples -- Health and hygiene, Celiac disease -- Diet therapy, Gluten-free diet -- Social aspects, Gluten-free diet -- Psychological aspects




Prior research on eating behaviors has shown that romantic partners actively merge their dietary preferences throughout the course of a relationship and find significant value in cooking and eating the same foods together at the same times. Yet, little is known regarding the impacts of specific dietary support processes involved in maintaining said communal diet when one partner drastically alters his or her eating patterns. The current study defined dietary sacrifice as a phenomenon within the context of Celiac Disease (CD): a chronic illness that requires strict adherence to the gluten-free diet (GFD). Drawing from existing research on sacrifice within romantic relationships (e.g., Impett & Gordon, 2008), this project examined whether non-Celiac partners' adherence to the GFD during shared mealtimes impacted relationship satisfaction for both couple members. Female Celiacs and their non-Celiac cohabitating partners (N=152 couples) were recruited for an online survey through various support organizations. Given the dyadic design of this study, the Actor-Partner Interdependence Mediation Model (APIMeM; Ledermann, Macho, & Kenny, 2011) was used to examine the mediating influence of Dietary Approach and Avoidance Motives. Results indicated that partner support in the form of shared GFD adherence bolstered couple happiness to the extent that it was performed for positive gains (e.g., promoting health and well-being) by the non-Celiac. While dietary sacrifice was positively associated with Celiacs' relationship satisfaction above and beyond non-Celiacs' endorsement of Dietary Avoidance Motives, both dyad members experienced significantly lower relationship satisfaction when non-Celiac partners adhered to the diet to deflect negative outcomes (e.g., rejection, fighting). This study serves as the first application of relationship sacrifice research to a specific health issue, and the first psychological exploration into intimate partners' dietary support processes within the Celiac population.

Persistent Identifier