, Volume 25, Issue 7-8, pp 469-484

Gender role typing, the superwoman ideal, and the potential for eating disorders

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Abstract

The interactive effects of gender role typing and adherence to a superwoman ideal (desiring to excel in many diverse roles) on the potential for disordered eating were examined among a nonclinical sample of women. Results indicated that both masculine and feminine gender-typed women who strongly adhered to a superwoman ideal were at greater risk for eating disorders than androgynous superwomen. In contrast, androgynous superwomen had relatively low potential for disordered eating and appeared comparable to women who, regardless of gender typing, rejected the superwoman ideal. Women undifferentiated with regard to gender type, whether superwomen or not, also had reduced potential for disordered eating. Findings are discussed with regard to gender role socialization and expectations, and the implications for mediating the potential for eating disorders are considered.