Young adults are at a significantly high risk for eating disorders. Existing research is lacking in what factors can contribute to this disorder; however, there is some that suggests that self-identification with masculine and feminine gender roles can contribute to an individual’s risk for disordered eating. Research investigating disordered eating in sexual minorities is particularly slim. The current study sought to examine the relationship between gender role identification, sexual orientation, and disordered eating, as well as the roles that anxiety and depression have in disordered eating development. In our sample (n = 437, 73.6% female, 76.7% white, 87.6% heterosexual), participants completed a packet of measures assessing the variables of interest through a secure online survey via Qualtrics. It was hypothesized that stronger identification with femininity would be positively associated with disordered eating behaviors, both LGBQ (lesbian/gay/bisexual/questioning) groups would report more disordered eating than the heterosexual groups, and stronger identification with masculinity would be negatively associated with disordered eating behaviors. The hypotheses were partially supported, as femininity was not positively associated with disordered eating, and masculinity did not predict disordered eating. However, LGBQ females did self-report more disordered eating symptoms than did heterosexual males.
Advisor(s) or Committee Chair
Dr. Amy Brausch
Gender and Sexuality | Health Psychology | Mental Disorders
Perkins, Natalie, "Gender Role Identification, Sexual Orientation, and Disordered Eating in Young Adults" (2016). Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects. Paper 653.