Sex Roles

, Volume 43, Issue 7–8, pp 427–439 | Cite as

Childhood Gender Nonconformity and Body Dissatisfaction in Gay and Heterosexual Men

  • Scott M. Strong
  • Devendra Singh
  • Patrick K. Randall


Although researchers have long hypothesized a relation between gender role orientation (i.e., masculinity and femininity) and body dissatisfaction, findings have been inconsistent. The current study employed a measure of recalled childhood gender nonconformity to examine gender role behaviors in association with body dissatisfaction among an ethnically diverse (76% Caucasian, 2% African American, 8% Asian, and 16.4% Hispanic American) group of predominantly college-aged males of both homosexual (n = 129) and heterosexual (n = 52) orientation. Consistent with past research, gay males reported more body dissatisfaction and recalled more childhood gender atypical behaviors (e.g., disliking athletics, playing with dolls). Group differences in body dissatisfaction, however, disappeared when childhood gender nonconformity was statistically controlled, suggesting childhood atypical gender role behavior may place males at greater risk for adult body dissatisfaction. A within-group analysis also found that a “high feminine” subtype of gay males had greater body dissatisfaction than “less feminine” subtypes had. Results support the assertion that gender role behaviors may contribute to body dissatisfaction among gay males.


Body Dissatisfaction Adult Body Childhood Gender Role Orientation Gender Role Orientation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Scott M. Strong
    • 1
  • Devendra Singh
    • 1
  • Patrick K. Randall
    • 1
  1. 1.University of TexasAustin

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