Original article:

Female facial appearance and health

Evolutionary Psychology 10(1): 66-77 Alan W. Gray, Durham University, UK, Alan.Gray@Durham.ac.ukLynda G. Boothroyd, Durham University, UK

Abstract

The current study addressed whether rated femininity, attractiveness, and health in female faces are associated with numerous indices of self-reported health history (number of colds/stomach bugs/frequency of antibiotic use) in a sample of 105 females. It was predicted that all three rating variables would correlate negatively with bouts of illness (with the exception of rates of stomach infections), on the assumption that aspects of facial appearance signal mate quality. The results showed partial support for this prediction, in that there was a general trend for both facial femininity and attractiveness to correlate negatively with the reported number of colds in the preceding twelve months and with the frequency of antibiotic use in the last three years and the last twelve months. Rated facial femininity (as documented in September) was also associated with days of flu experienced in the period spanning the November-December months. However, rated health did not correlate with any of the health indices (albeit one marginal result with antibiotic use in the last twelve months). The results lend support to previous findings linking facial femininity to health and suggest that facial femininity may be linked to some aspects of disease resistance but not others.

Keywords

femininity, health, facial attractiveness, immunity, immunocompetence

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Evolutionary Psychology - An open access peer-reviewed journal - ISSN 1474-7049 © Ian Pitchford and Robert M. Young; individual articles © the author(s)
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