Eating Disorders and Disordered Weight and Shape Control Behaviors in Sexual Minority Populations

  • Jerel P. CalzoEmail author
  • Aaron J. Blashill
  • Tiffany A. Brown
  • Russell L. Argenal
Eating Disorders (S Wonderlich and JM Lavender, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Eating Disorders


Purpose of Review

This review summarized trends and key findings from empirical studies conducted between 2011 and 2017 regarding eating disorders and disordered weight and shape control behaviors among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and other sexual minority (i.e., non-heterosexual) populations.

Recent Findings

Recent research has examined disparities through sociocultural and minority stress approaches. Sexual minorities continue to demonstrate higher rates of disordered eating; disparities are more pronounced among males. Emerging data indicates elevated risk for disordered eating pathology among sexual minorities who are transgender or ethnic minorities. Dissonance-based eating disorder prevention programs may hold promise for sexual minority males.


Continued research must examine the intersections of sexual orientation, gender, and ethnic identities, given emergent data that eating disorder risk may be most prominent among specific subgroups. More research is needed within sexual minorities across the lifespan. There is still a lack of eating disorder treatment and prevention studies for sexual minorities.


Sexual orientation Disordered eating Body image Anabolic steroids Appearance and performance enhancing drugs 



Dr. Calzo was supported by K01DA034753. Dr. Blashill was supported by K23MH096647. We would like to thank Kathryn Houk and Hannah Saquilayan for their assistance in preparing this review.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Jerel P. Calzo reports a grant from NIH/NIDA (K01DA034753).

Aaron J. Blashill, Tiffany A. Brown, and Russell L. Argenal each declare no potential conflicts of interest.

Human and Animal Rights

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jerel P. Calzo
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Aaron J. Blashill
    • 3
    • 4
  • Tiffany A. Brown
    • 5
  • Russell L. Argenal
    • 1
  1. 1.Graduate School of Public HealthSan Diego State UniversitySan DiegoUSA
  2. 2.Institute for Behavioral and Community Health, San Diego State University Research FoundationSan DiegoUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologySan Diego State UniversitySan DiegoUSA
  4. 4.San Diego State University/University of California, San Diego Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical PsychologySan DiegoUSA
  5. 5.Eating Disorders Center for Treatment and Research, Department of PsychiatryUniversity of CaliforniaSan DiegoUSA

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