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Does attractiveness buy happiness?
Only if you live in the city according to this study.
Previous studies document that attractiveness predicts life outcomes, including well-being and social connectedness. This study investigates whether the attractiveness–outcomes link is especially strong in settings, such as many urban areas, that promote relationship constructions as a product of personal choice. This link may weaken in settings, such as many rural areas, that promote less voluntaristic-independent relationship constructions. Analyses of survey data from a national representative (United States) sample supported these hypotheses. Attractiveness (operationalized as waist-to-hip ratio) predicted well-being and social connectedness among urban (n = 257) but not rural (n = 330) women. Social connectedness mediated the urban–rural moderation of the attractiveness/well-being link. Findings suggest that frequently observed attractiveness effects are the product of particular, modern social contexts that promote relationship choice.