Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Business and Economics


Marketing and Supply Chain

First Advisor

Dr. David M. Hardesty

Second Advisor

Dr. Blair Kidwell


This research examines the evolutionary eating patterns of consumers when eating with those they are in relationships with, moving beyond eating decisions made in isolation or in the presence of strangers. Across three studies, unique patterns of consumption emerge when males and females are in different stages of romantic relationships. I demonstrate that the evolutionary motives of mate acquisition and mate retention drive eating patterns for relationship partners relative to their gender. I show that females match the eating habits of males at early stages in the relationship but are more independent later in the relationship, while males match eating habits of females in later stages in the relationships but are more independent early in relationships. I discuss how evolutionary eating patterns contribute to high obesity rates, provide recommendations for avoiding unhealthy eating among couples, and shed light on common cultural beliefs about weight gain in social relationships.

Included in

Marketing Commons