, Volume 41, Issue 1-2, pp 1-16

Role of Sexual Orientation and Gender-Related Traits in Disordered Eating

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Abstract

This study was designed to examine the role of both sexual orientation and gender-related personality traits in disordered eating attitudes and behavior, including body dissatisfaction. Self-report measures assessing negative and positive gender traits,body dissatisfaction, drive for thinness, dietary restraint, and bulimic symptoms were administered to 266 participants (64 lesbians, 73 heterosexual women, 69 gay men, and 60 heterosexual men; 85% Anglo-Australian Caucasians, 15% Caucasians from Non-English-speaking backgrounds). Consistent with previous research, gay men scored significantly higher than heterosexual men on body dissatisfaction and dietary restraint, whereas lesbians scored significantly lower in comparison to the heterosexual women on body dissatisfaction, drive for thinness, dietary restraint, and bulimia. For men, the additional amount of variance accounted by the gender traits was significantly higher than that accounted for by sexual orientation. For the women, the gender traits also accounted for an additional significant amount of variance; however, overall the amount of variance accounted for by sexual orientation was greater. However, for both men and women, irrespective of their sexual orientation, it was higher scores on negative femininity that predicted higher levels of disordered eating. These results are consistent with previous studies that have found support for the femininity hypothesis in disordered eating.