Andrea Meltzer

Associate Professor

Not recruiting a graduate student for Fall of 2024

Andrea Meltzer

Contact Information



University of Tennessee, 2012

Research Interests

My current research draws from an evolutionary perspective to examine how people's personal qualities shape their intimate relationships and how their intimate relationships shape their personal qualities. For example, I have shown that various aspects of women's physical appearance shape an important psychological outcome--both spouses' marital satisfaction. Likewise, I have demonstrated that marital satisfaction predicts an important physical outcome--spouses' weight gain. I am also currently drawing from sexual selection and life history theories to better understand marital cognitions, emotions, and behaviors.

Lab Description

I utilize both experimental and longitudinal methods, and often draw from an evolutionary perspective, to better understand established romantic relationships. Some issues I am currently examining include hormonal contraceptive use, ovulatory shift effects, sexual selection, life history strategies, body image and weight, objectification, and intimacy.

Maner, J. K., Dittman, A., Meltzer, A. L., & McNulty, J. K. (2017). Implications of life-history strategies for obesity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114, 8517-8522.

Reynolds, T., & Meltzer, A. L. (2017). Adopting a dyadic perspective to better understand the association between physical attractiveness and dieting motivations and behaviors. Body Image, 22, 48-52.

Meltzer, A. L., Makhanova, S., Hicks, L. L., French, J. E., McNulty, J. K., & Bradbury, T. N. (2017). Quantifying the sexual afterglow: The lingering benefits of sex and their implications for pair-bonded relationships. Psychological Science, 29, 587-598.

French, J. E., Meltzer, A. L., & Maner, J. K. (2017). Perceived partner commitment and male mate guarding: The moderating role of partner’s hormonal contraceptive use. Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, 11, 173-186.

Meltzer, A. L. (2017). Wives report higher satisfaction with masculine husbands near peak fertility. Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, 11, 161-172.

Meltzer, A. L., McNulty, J. K., Maner, J. K. (2017). Women like being valued for sex by their partner and engaging in frequent sex, as long as their partner is committed to a long-term relationship. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 46, 475-488.

Salvatore, J. F., Meltzer, A. L., March, D. S., & Gaertner, L. (2017). Strangers with benefits: Attraction to outgroup men increases as fertility increases across the menstrual cycle. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 43, 204-217.

Hicks, L. L., McNulty, J. K., Meltzer, A. L., & Olson, M. A. (2016). Capturing the interpersonal implications of evolved preferences?: Frequency of sex shapes automatic, but not explicit, partner evaluations. Psychological Science, 27, 836-847.

Meltzer, A. L., & McNulty, J. K. (2016). Who is having more and better sex? The Big Five as predictors of sex in marriage. Journal of Research in Personality, 63, 62-66.

Meltzer, A. L., McNulty, J. K., Miller, S., & Baker, L. R. (2015). A psychophysiological mechanism underlying women's weight goals: Women desire and strive for greater weight loss near peak fertility. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 41, 930-942.

Meltzer, A. L., & McNulty, J. K. (2015). Telling women that men desire women with bodies larger than the thin-ideal improves women’s body satisfaction. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 6, 391-398.

Li, N. P., & Meltzer, A. L. (2015). Understanding the validity of sex-differentiated mate preferences: Reconciling the seemingly conflicting evidence. Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, 9, 89-106.

Meltzer, A. L., McNulty, J. K., Jackson, G. L., & Karney, B. R. (2014). Sex differences in the implications of partner physical attractiveness for the trajectory of marital satisfaction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 106, 418-428.

Meltzer, A. L., McNulty, J. K., Jackson, G. L., & Karney, B. R. (2014). Men still value physical attractiveness in a long-term mate more than women: Rejoinder to Eastwick, Neff, Finkel, Luchies, and Hunt (2014). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 106, 435-440.

Meltzer, A. L., & McNulty, J. K. (2014). "Tell me I’m sexy...and otherwise valuable:" Body valuation and intimate relationships. Personal Relationships, 21, 68-87.

Russell, V. M., McNulty, J. K., Baker, L. R., & Meltzer, A. L. (2014). The association between discontinuing hormonal contraceptives and wives' marital satisfaction depends on husbands' facial attractiveness. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111, 17081-17086.

Meltzer, A. L., Novak, S. A., McNulty, J. K., Butler, E. A., & Karney, B. R. (2013). Marital satisfaction predicts weight gain in early marriage. Health Psychology, 32, 824-827.

McNulty, J. K., Olson, M. A., Meltzer, A. L., & Shaffer, M. J. (2013). Though they may be unaware, newlyweds implicitly know whether their marriage will be satisfying. Science, 342, 1119-1120.

Meltzer, A. L., McNulty, J. K., & Karney, B. R. (2012). Social support and weight maintenance in marriage: The interactive effects of support seeking, support provision, and gender. Journal of Family Psychology, 26, 678-687.

Howerton, D. M., Meltzer, A. L., & Olson, M. A. (2012). Honeymoon vacation: Sexual-orientation prejudice and inconsistent behavioral responses. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 34, 146-151.

Meltzer, A. L., McNulty, J. K., Novak, S. A., Butler, E. A., & Karney, B. R. (2011). Marriages are more satisfying when wives are thinner than their husbands. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2, 416-424.

Meltzer, A. L., & McNulty, J. K. (2011). Contrast effects of stereotypes: “Nurturing" male professors are evaluated more positively than "nurturing" female professors. The Journal of Men’s Studies, 19, 57-64.

Meltzer, A. L., & McNulty, J. K. (2010). Body image and marital satisfaction: Evidence for the mediating role of sex

Undergraduate Research

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