Sex Roles

, Volume 29, Issue 7–8, pp 545–562 | Cite as

Actual differences and stereotypical perceptions in body image and eating disturbance: A comparison of male and female heterosexual and homosexual samples

  • Thomas E. Gettelman
  • J. Kevin Thompson


In the present study, 32 homosexual males (HMM), 32 homosexual females (HMF), 32 heterosexual males (HTM), and 32 heterosexual females (HTF) completed measures of body image disturbance and concerns with weight and dieting from five different perspectives: self, and “typical” homosexual male, heterosexual male, heterosexual female, and homosexual female. Participants were primarily Caucasian. Results indicated that, in general, HMMs and HTFs showed greater actual concerns with appearance, weight, and dieting, and were perceived to possess greater body image disturbance and dieting concerns compared to HTMs and HMFs. Subjects also held various stereotypic misperceptions about certain target groups such that HTFs and HMMs were predicted to possess greater body image disturbance and be more concerned with weight and dieting than was actually true. In addition, subjects made accurate predictions about HTMs overall, but were inconsistent in their predictions of HMFs on these measures. Results are discussed in terms of possible variation in the degree of importance these attributes may have for members of these four populations and how such differences may lead to an increased risk for developing eating disorders among heterosexual females and homosexual males.


Social Psychology Body Image Eating Disorder Target Group Accurate Prediction 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas E. Gettelman
    • 1
  • J. Kevin Thompson
    • 1
  1. 1.University of South FloridaUSA

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