May 19, 2005

Worse self-image, more eating disorders among gay men

Eating Behaviors
Volume 6, Issue 3 , June 2005, Pages 179-187

Body image, eating behaviors, and attitudes toward exercise among gay and straight men

Patricia L. Kaminski et al.


Gay men tend to be more dissatisfied with their bodies and may be at greater risk for symptoms of eating disorders compared to heterosexual men. However, the majority of research conducted with gay and heterosexual men has implemented instruments designed to assess eating disorder symptomatology in women. The present study assessed differences between gay and heterosexual men using the Male Eating Behavior and Body Image Evaluation (MEBBIE), an instrument designed to assess attitudes and behaviors related to eating, exercise and body image specifically in men. Analyses of MEBBIE scale means with body mass index (BMI) as the covariate indicated that, relative to their heterosexual counterparts, gay men diet more, are more fearful of becoming fat, and are more dissatisfied with their bodies in general as well as with their degree of muscularity. Gay men were also more likely than heterosexual men to hold distorted cognitions about the importance of having an ideal physique. Contrary to hypotheses, however, gay and straight men did not differ in the degree to which they exercised or felt guilty about missing a workout. Results are discussed in light of previous findings, and implications for clinical practice and future research are considered.


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