“Beauty” and “wellness” are elusive concepts, and a new study from the University of Pennsylvania (454 participants) analyzed how people free associate with these terms, using semantic network analysis to provide new insight into how people really think about these two concepts. The study investigated: 1) What concepts surround beauty and wellness? 2) How are these concepts linked? 3) Does the way people think about beauty and wellness change across generations (from Gen Z to baby boomers), and 4) Do men and women think about beauty and wellness differently?

One finding for all ages and genders: Beauty is about being elegant and sexy at the same time, while wellness is about being both physically healthy and spiritual. Another: Older people have much more distinct concepts of “beauty” and “wellness” than younger generations, and women are more organized than men in their ideas of beauty and wellness and bridge both concepts with reference to appearance and individuality. The study was co-led by Anjan Chatterjee, MD, professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine and a GWI research partner with studies on the relationship between beauty and wellness.

Read key findings at Psychology Today.

The full study.

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