There is increasing interest in understanding what role, if any, sex and sexual orientation play in body dissatisfaction, its correlates to distress, and its relationship to disordered eating.
The goals of the present study were to examine: The present data support several key trends in the literature: Gay men reported significantly more body dissatisfaction, internalization, eating disorder symptomatology, drive for thinness, and drive for muscularity than heterosexual men. Compared to heterosexual women, lesbians reported increased drive for muscularity, lower self-esteem, and lower internalization; however, they did not significantly differ on body dissatisfaction, drive for thinness or disordered eating.
Correlation coefficients between body shape dissatisfaction and several aspects of mental distress were significantly larger for gay men than heterosexual men; the same coefficients did not differ between lesbian women and heterosexual women.
Results of path analyses indicated that the relationship between internalization and disordered eating differs for gay and heterosexual men but not for lesbian and heterosexual women.
These results call attention to lesbians as a generally understudied population. There has been increasing interest in the risk of eating disorder symptomatology in lesbian, gay, and bisexual LGB populations. Despite many advances in the understanding of eating and body-related disorders in affluent Western countries, they continue to be an unresolved health problem, particularly for the LGB population Morrison et al.
According to the socio-cultural model of body dissatisfaction Stice,individuals who are regularly exposed to media messages with a strong emphasis on physical appearance are more likely to endorse these messages as personally relevant; that is, they are more likely to internalize the ideal body shape portrayed in the media.
Endorsement of cultural body shape ideals and the values associated with them indicates that these ideals can become a reference point against which individuals judge their body; self-worth becomes contingent on Pictures showing different perspectives on sexual orientation them Fitzsimmons-Craft, ; Dakanalis and Riva, Among both sexes, internalization strongly predicts body dissatisfaction and low self-esteem.
"Pictures showing different perspectives on sexual orientation"
Both constructs have been found to be related to disordered eating Stice and Shaw, ; Fitzsimmons-Craft, ; Dakanalis et al.
According to the socio-cultural model, men and women who internalize the cultural standards of beauty are more vulnerable to developing high levels of body dissatisfaction than those who do not, and, in turn, are more likely to engage in harmful behaviors in an attempt to control and modify their appearance according to what Pictures showing different perspectives on sexual orientation pressures dictate Stice and Shaw, While there is ample evidence supporting the socio-cultural model, direct measurement of its variables is increasingly complex when additional demographic factors such as age, sex, ethnicity, nationality, socioeconomic status, and sexual orientation are taken into account Morrison et al.
Thus, the salience and impact of certain aspects of the model may vary for different populations.
For example, measures of body image tend to center on a drive for thinness, which women typically endorse at higher rates than men; however, when assessing drive for muscularity, boys and men are more likely to report dissatisfaction with their body Cohane and Pope, ; Grogan and Richards, ; Bergeron and Tylka, Historically, it was hypothesized that gay men may be as affected as heterosexual women by socio-cultural pressures and therefore equally at risk for body dissatisfaction and consequent development of disordered eating Grogan, ; Li et al.
In line with this hypothesis, gay men report more behavioral symptoms indicative of eating disorders than heterosexual men. Several
Pictures showing different perspectives on sexual orientation have emerged as to why gay men are more likely to report eating and body image disturbances. Some of the most common arguments are framed within objectification theory Fredrickson and Roberts,wherein gay men Pictures showing different perspectives on sexual orientation heterosexual women are more likely to treat themselves as objects to be evaluated on the basis of physical appearance i.
Others have suggested that gay men have heightened intrasexual competition compared to heterosexual men or lesbian women Morrison et al. Despite the increasing interest in the nature of body dissatisfaction and the prevalence and mechanisms underlying weight and eating related disturbances in LGB individuals, research has primarily focused on gay men; comparatively little research has been devoted to lesbian women Morrison et al.
In the limited body of research comparing lesbian and heterosexual women, quantitative findings have been inconsistent. A recent meta-analysis, on the other hand, indicates that heterosexual and lesbian women do not significantly differ from each other in terms of body dissatisfaction Morrison et al. A component of sociocultural models of disordered eating Stice, ; Thompson et al.
It is thought that the higher prevalence of disordered eating and body dissatisfaction among women is driven by the desire to appear attractive to men, however, research with lesbian women indicates pursuing a male partner is not necessary for body dissatisfaction to develop Kozee and Tylka, ; Peplau et al.
While lesbian culture is generally considered to be a feminist and body-positive social influence, and thus protective of disordered eating e. In addition to differences in prevalence of body dissatisfaction and eating disorder symptomatology based on sexual orientation, there are qualitative differences in the types of body ideals that gay and heterosexual men and women pursue. While gay men and heterosexual women both report heightened drive for thinness Hunt et al. There is less research regarding body ideals of lesbian women, but studies suggest that body ideals tend not to vary from heterosexual women Feldman and Meyer, ; Peplau et al.
It is not established whether traditional measures of appearance or body dissatisfaction assess the social-identity aspect for lesbians or the type of appearance lesbians would prefer.
There were two main goals of the present study. The first goal was to extend the extant literature and to comprehensively examine male and female body and appearance ideals and their relation with socio-cultural pressure, global self-esteem, and disordered eating. We used measures that address different components of body image dissatisfaction i.
We hypothesized that, compared to heterosexual men, gay men would report higher rates of body dissatisfaction, increased drive for and thinness, and increased eating disorder symptomatology. We also hypothesized that, compared to heterosexual women, lesbian women would report higher drive for muscularity and lower internalization scores but would not significantly differ on other measures.
The second goal of the current study was to examine a more comprehensive model than has been previously explored, which includes both links of internalization of sociocultural standards of beauty to eating disorder symptomatology, and the mediating roles of the different components of body
Pictures showing different perspectives on sexual orientation dissatisfaction and low self-esteem.
We expected that internalization would lead to different components of body image dissatisfaction i. However, given the paucity of research investigating sex and particular sexual orientation differences in the strength of these relationships between variables Fitzsimmons-Craft,it is unclear how well these relationships fit men and women of different sexual orientations, and if the relationship between internalization and disordered eating is fully or partially mediated by the different components of body image dissatisfaction and low self-esteem i.
Although exploring mediation was the primary goal, we not have specific predictions regarding the overall fit, specific model paths, or the type of mediation. Participants were recruited from three urban universities and their surrounding areas in the mid-Atlantic United States.
Community participants were recruited from organizations serving specific ethnic groups and sexuality groups and via the Internet to assure inclusion of traditionally underrepresented minorities in the sample of respondents. All participants completed the study's measures online. The use of online surveys generally does not change the quality of results compared to paper-and-pencil Lewis et al. For one of the universities, participants were compensated with course credit for their completion of the questionnaire.
Therefore, the final sample consisted of respondents and included men The appropriate ethical review board at each institution approved the study. The final sample included respondents from the community and undergraduate students from the three campuses combined into a single subsample 1. Sexual orientation was measured using a seven-point Likert-type scale based on the Kinsey et al.
We collapsed sexual orientation into a trinary: Respondents were generally younger adults with a mean age of Participants indicated their self-identified sexual orientation on a scale of zero to six: As noted, we created three categories for sexual orientation: Pictures showing different perspectives on sexual orientation also provided height and weight to calculate BMI. We used the total and subscale scores of the measures described above as the dependent variables in all analyses.
Due to an administration error, item no. Because all other items Pictures showing different perspectives on sexual orientation the SATAQ's internalization subscale were administered properly, we replaced the lost data using mean imputation from the remaining responses on the scale.
To assess differences between the heterosexual, gay, and bisexual samples, we conducted a series of Mann—Whitney U -tests a nonparametric equivalent to t -tests. We further compared sexual orientation as a trinary: To control for Type 2 error, we utilized Holm's sequential correction; this method is preferable a traditional Bonferroni correction as it does not change the p -value, but instead provides critical values for significance Aickin, In order to be considered significant, the smallest p -value must be less than 0.
We conducted Spearman Rank-Order correlations r s between each variable stratified by sex and binary sexual orientation. Sexual orientation was collapsed into a binary to increase power and because bisexual respondents generally did not differ from exclusively gay members of the same sex. We conducted Fisher r-to-z transformations to assess if the correlation coefficients r s were significantly larger between sexual orientations of the same sex. We conducted a path analysis using Mplus version 6.
The procedure was conducted first for men and then for women. Total scores on the measures served as the observed variables in the model. Because pre-analysis of the data revealed Pictures showing different perspectives on sexual orientation for non-normality see abovewe used robust maximum likelihood estimation Byrne, We determined the adequacy of model fit by four indices recommended by Byrne We also specified Mplus to identify modification indices MI above 5.
As testing mediation using bootstrap procedure has been recommended Mackinnon,the final structural model was run with bootstrap samples to examine the significance of indirect effects. In order to determine whether the structural paths of the final model were similar or different across sexual orientations groups, two multiple-group analyses were performed.
Women endorsed significantly more body shape dissatisfaction, drive for thinness, internalization, and disordered eating symptomatology as measured by the EAT.
Men and women did not significantly differ on a measure of self-esteem. Each of the above significances was maintained using Holm's correction. Exclusively gay men reported lower and drive for thinness and internalization; these differences were marginally significant. Gay and heterosexual men did not significantly differ on self-esteem or drive for muscularity. Both of these differences were maintained using Holm's correction.
There were small effect sizes for both of the above significant differences. Lesbian and bisexual and heterosexual women did not significantly differ on body shape dissatisfaction, drive for thinness, or eating disorder symptomatology. Thus, bisexual women reported the lowest self-esteem of the three sexual orientation groups, while exclusively heterosexual and gay women did not significantly differ. Also noted in this table are any significant differences in Pictures showing different perspectives on sexual orientation of correlation coefficients.
The only significant differences between gay and heterosexual individuals' correlation coefficients were observed in the male sample: In addition, drive for thinness correlated with eating disorder symptomatology more strongly for gay men than heterosexual men.
Spearman Rank-Order Correlations between each variable stratified by sex and sexual orientation.