Article
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the authors.

Abstract

Gay men are thought to experience body-image concerns or disorders more frequently than heterosexual men. It is unclear, however, whether these putative concerns are due to unrealistic body ideals (aspiring to a body shape that is difficult or impossible to attain), body-image distortion (misperceiving the actual shape of one's body), or both. We administered a well-established computerized body-image test, the "somatomorphic matrix," to 37 gay men recruited from the community in April 1999 and compared the results with previous data from 49 community-recruited heterosexual comparison men and 24 clinic-recruited heterosexual men with eating disorders. Gay men were indistinguishable from the community-recruited heterosexual comparison men on measures of both body ideals and body-image distortion. By contrast, eating-disordered men were significantly distinguishable from both other groups on body-image distortion. The lack of differences between community gay and heterosexual men on body-image indices seems unlikely to represent a type II error, since the somatomorphic matrix showed ample power to detect abnormalities in the eating-disordered men, despite the smaller sample size of the latter group. Contrary to our hypotheses, gay men did not differ significantly from heterosexual men on measures of body image. These unexpected findings cast doubt on the widespread belief that gay men experience greater body-image dissatisfaction than heterosexual men. If our findings are valid, it follows that some previous studies of body image in gay men may possibly have been influenced by selection bias.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the authors.

... In his analyses of homosexuality and body image, Pope (Pope et al. 2000, Hausmann et al. 2004) has suggested that the differences recorded between gay men's and straight men's body image may be due to a recruitment error. He suggests clinical samples have often been used to characterize gay men, while non-clinical men have been targeted for heterosexual samples. ...
... These groups were (a) 'measurement of size accuracy'; (b) 'perceptual measurement with weight categories'; (c) 'subjective assessment'; (d) 'contour-drawn silhouette scales'; and (e) 'the somatomorphic matrix'. Since 2000, research on gay men's body image has focused on the use of categories c and d, with one study (Hausmann et al. 2004) using the somatomorphic matrix. ...
... Indeed, of the research evaluated which did compare straight and gay body image, the overwhelming majority of articles reported a distinct difference in the body image of these two groups (c.f. Hausmann et al. 2004). ...
Article
Full-text available
In the period from 2000 to 2007, 45 peer-reviewed articles have been published regarding body image in gay men from Westernized cultures. Despite that academic focus on gay men's bodies, little attention has been paid to the methods and methodologies used to generate that knowledge. This article conducted a systematic literature review of the peer-reviewed articles published during that eight-year period so as to engage in an analysis and critique of the methods used in gay male body image research. Emergent themes from the review included the need for improved recruitment methods, the precarious role of the Internet in body image research, a need for clarity regarding the definition of homosexuality and bisexuality, a lack of longitudinal data, the need for psychometric standardization, and openness regarding methodology on the part of qualitative research. Suggestions for future research are discussed.
... The most important limitation of this preliminary study is a small sample size, especially in the case of a male sub-group, as well as conducting the study only among pharmacy students, who should not be considered representative of all student and the young adult population in Poland, so the results of this study can not be generalized. However, similar working sample size were previously used in comparable studies on weight perception of the high school young adolescents [23], female students of nutrition [12], pharmacy [11], medicine [56], state university students [55], adult schizophrenic patients [38], and young diverse sexually oriented men [46,47] (see Table 1 for details). ...
... Thus, participants might have compared themselves with their personally desired body size, medical standards, or the body size of their peers and family members, and each of these standards might lead to a different response from a single respondent. Another limitation is that the use of a measured actual BMI value as a measure of body weight appropriateness, which does not take into account the body fatness, so is useful for only a general analysis of weight categories [34,47,55,77]. However our findings, despite such a simplified approach and range of limitations, indicate reliable consistency in the main conclusions with recent results of other researchers in various countries [18,53,55,57,58,74,75], and should encourage us to continue them for developing of adequate lifelong weight maintenance strategy for each group of people. ...
Article
Full-text available
Some reports indicate that in various groups of society living in the highly developed countries a body weight perception and weight satisfaction tend to be inappropriate when compared with body mass index (BMI) calculated from estimated actual weight and height. Thus in present studies a relationship between body weight perceptions, measured actual BMI, gender, and dieting practices in a sample population of pharmacy students in Poland were examined to verify hypothesis that their incorrect self-perception would provoke occasional, seasonal and permanent eating disorders. Height and weight data of 178 pharmacy students (mean age 22.6+/-2.4 years) in Bydgoszcz, Poland, were collected and validated by completed self-reported questionnaire assessing their self-perceived body weight, desired body weight and past/current dieting practices. Only 34.4% of female and 37.1% of male pharmacy students was satisfied with their current body weight. Statistical analyses revealed significant differences in estimated BMI status (chi(2)=28.5; p=0.0001), desired body weight (chi(2)=15.6; p=0.0004) and past dieting (chi(2)=7.6; p=0.0050) by gender. In the male sub-group of students (n=27) unclear association (chi(2)=6.1; p=0.046) between measured actual BMI status and self-perceived body weight have been presented. Moreover, in male students a significant relationship (chi(2)=4.9; p=0.0261) between actual BMI status and both past as well as current weight control behavior in the form of dieting practices was exhibited. In case of a sub-group of female students (n=151) a diffuse association of actual BMI and self-perception of their body weight (chi(2)=69.5; p=0.0001) was obtained. However, a close relation (chi(2)=16.9; p=0.0007) between actual BMI and only past dieting practices was observed in females. Furthermore, in this last sub-group of students the significant relationship (chi(2)=53.9; p=0.0001) between measured actual BMI and desired body weight was also demonstrated. The study showed an evidence of distorted self-perception of body weight in both sub-groups of considered pharmacy students. There was a tendency to overestimate of body weight in female students, and to underestimate in male students. These results suggest common dissatisfaction of body weight, especially among females, who were more often engaged in dieting, despite not being overweight or obese according to measured actual BMI status.
... and straight men, it was greater for gay men. However, other research has shown that this is not the case, and that there is no difference between heterosexual men and homosexual men concerning body image dissatisfaction (Hausmann, Mangweth, Walch, Rupp and Pope 2004). In a study looking at body image dissatisfaction between gay and straight men, Hausmann et. al (2004) compared 37 gay males with 49 community recruited heterosexual men and 24 clinic recruited heterosexual men diagnosed with eating disorders. They found that: Gay men were indistinguishable from the community recruited heterosexual comparison men on measures of both body ideals and body-image distortions. By contrast, eating-disordered m ...
... Ramirez 1998). Although there is some overlap in terms of both producing potentially negative mental and physical impacts and the misconception that they both only affect women or gay men, these two pathologies need to be examined separately as the etiologies and diagnostic criteria are quite different. The danger with this, as can be seen in the Hausmann et. al (2004) study, is that males with eating disorders seem to have a higher rate of body dissatisfaction, which may distort results when eating disordered men are grouped in research studies with men suffering from BDD. Furthermore, within the limited research conducted where the focus of the body-image or BDD research is limited to males without ...
... In an additional theory, it was hypothesized that because gay adults experienced greater levels of body shame and body objectification than heterosexual men, this, in turn, predicted increased rates of eating disorder symptomology among gay adults [104]. However, other research found that gay adults did not significantly differ from heterosexual men in terms of body esteem, body dissatisfaction, ideal body image, body image distortion, and drive for thinness [71,131,173]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Background According to past research, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals experience a higher prevalence of psychopathology, which is attributable to the increased stress (i.e., stigma and prejudice) that they experience, as detailed by the minority stress model (MSM). Main This current literature review examined the empirical literature regarding the rates and types of, and risk factors for eating disorders and disordered eating behaviors in LGBT adults and adolescents, in addition to each individual subgroup (i.e., lesbians, gay males, bisexuals, transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals). Conclusion LGBT adults and adolescents experience greater incidence of eating disorders and disordered eating behaviors than their heterosexual and cisgender counterparts. Additionally, gay, bisexual, and transgender adults and adolescents were all at increased risk for eating disorders and disordered eating behaviors. Mixed results were found for lesbian adults and adolescents. Results are discussed within the framework of the MSM.
... There is mixed evidence regarding significant differences in body satisfaction of gay and straight males, with some studies finding no significant differences (e.g. Boroughs and Thompson 2002; King and Fletcher 2003; Hausmann et al. 2004), and other studies finding gay males more dissatisfied than straight males (e.g., Beren et al. 1996; Kaminski et al. 2005; Lakkis et al. 1999; Silberstein et al. 1989; Strong et al. 2000; Williamson and Hartley 1998). Within the gay culture of Sydney, where stereotyped images of the ideal body abound, gay men may exhibit more body dissatisfaction than straight men, even through their femininity scores may be higher. ...
Article
This study compared 80 gay and straight Australian males on self report measures of body satisfaction, masculinity, femininity, narcissism, and reasons for exercising at gyms to explore factors related to excessive exercise. Gay males are less satisfied with their bodies compared to straight males. Improving appearance was more important for gay men, while fun was considered more important for straight men. Only sexual orientation and masculinity contributed independently to body satisfaction. Straight males who scored high on masculinity were most satisfied with their bodies, while gay males who scored low on masculinity were least satisfied with their bodies, irrespective of femininity and narcissism. Hours exercising per week and fun as a reason for exercising, significantly contributed to body satisfaction.
... However, such a conclusion has been increasingly challenged, with some research (e.g., Kane, 2009;Kane, 2010) showing that sexual minority's body image issue may be overstated. For example, some studies reported no difference in body dissatisfaction across groups of men with different sexual orientations (e.g., Greentree & Lewis, 2011;Hausmann, Mangweth, Walch, Rupp, & Pop Jr, 2004;Herzog, Newman, & Warshaw, 1991); a few studies even reported higher level of body dissatisfaction among heterosexual men than sexual minority men (Parent & Bradstreet, 2017;Silberstein, Mishkind, Striegel-Moore, Timko, & Rodin, 1989;Yean et al., 2013). ...
Article
Previous research studies on the relationship between body dissatisfaction and sexual orientation in men and women showed inconsistent results. To better understand this body of research, we conducted a quantitative synthesis based on a three-level random-effects meta-analytic model. In total, we analyzed 229 effect sizes from 75 primary studies published between 1986 and 2019. Results showed that sexual minority men had a higher level of body dissatisfaction than heterosexual men (57 studies, 128 effect sizes), with a small to medium effect size (d = 0.34; 95% CI: 0.28, 0.39). Other comparisons—bisexual men vs. gay men (6 studies, 9 effect sizes), sexual minority women vs. heterosexual women (36 studies, 85 effect sizes), and bisexual women vs. lesbian women (6 studies, 7 effect sizes)—showed smaller and statistically insignificant differences. Moderator analyses revealed that the inconsistency in previous studies comparing sexual minority men and heterosexual men could be partially explained by specific study features, including publication year, survey method, participants’ age, participants’ BMI, and measures used to assess body dissatisfaction. The inconsistent findings in comparing sexual minority women and heterosexual women could be partially explained by the different survey methods used in previous studies. Explanations and implications are discussed.
... A key point of agreement amongst several writers on the Bear phenomenon is that body and self-acceptance are part of identity (Hennen, 2005;Manley, et al., 2007;Monaghan, 2005;Wright, 2001) As time progresses, there may be less difference in body dissatisfaction amongst gay and non-gay men: over time, that dissatisfaction may flow to confluence. Hausmann et al. (2004) compared and contrasted gay and heterosexual men, and found that there was little difference in body image perceptions between gay and straight men. They attributed this to sampling in earlier studies, but Martins et al. (2007) have proposed that as men are increasingly objectifying their bodies their dissatisfaction with their bodies also increases and that gay and non-gay men's body image issues were broadly similar (Martins, Tiggemann, & Churchett, 2008). ...
... Regardless of HIV status, men who self-described as other than heterosexual were more likely than heterosexuals to feel they were too heavy, after adjustment for BMI. Some (Beren et al., 1996; French et al., 1996) but not all (Hausmann et al., 2004; Herzog et al., 1991) studies have suggested that homosexual men have a higher incidence of body dissatisfaction and eating disorders, presumably attributed to an emphasis on physical appearance and a possibly higher valuation of thinness. One report found few differences in body image as a function of sexual orientation, although more homosexual men believed that their partners preferred a thinner figure (Boroughs & Thompson, 2002 ). ...
Article
Full-text available
We performed a cross-sectional analysis of factors associated with negative body image among 550 older men with or at-risk for HIV infection, including demographics, depression, illicit drug use, and antiretroviral therapy adherence. Overall, 31 per cent of participants reported negative body image, which was independently associated with increased BMI, self-rated fair/poor health, depression, and erectile dysfunction, but not HIV status. Screening for and treating depression, sexual dysfunction, and obesity in older men should be considered.
... Eating disorder traits were seen as stereotypic of gay men, but it is not clear how to interpret these beliefs, especially among the therapist trainees. Although studies with small, non-random samples commonly show higher rates of eating disorders or body image dissatisfaction among gay men than among straight men (Russell & Keel, 2002;Siever, 1994), there have been contrary studies (Hausmann, Mangweth, Walch, Rupp, & Pope, 2004). More important, although differences in eating behavior and attitudes have been found in a large-sample study of gay adolescents (Austin et al., 2004), no epidemiological research has emerged to indicate a higher prevalence of eating disorders among gay men. ...
Article
Full-text available
Three studies were conducted to examine the mental health stereotypes about gay men among college student and therapist trainee samples. Results from Study 1 indicated that (a) college students and therapist trainees endorsed a stereotype of the mental health of gay men that was similar in terms of its content and strength, and (b) the stereotype was consistent with five DSM-IV-TR disorder categories: mood, anxiety, sexual and gender identity, eating, and personality disorders. In Study 2 and 3 we investigated whether homophobia or a tendency to report cultural beliefs could account for the lack of difference between college students and therapist trainees. Results did not support either explanation.
... In keeping with this hypothesis, gay men are found to diet more often and to have a leaner body ideal than do heterosexual men, 12 but not always. 21 Hence, gay men may be at risk because of more frequent, and possibly stricter, dieting. They may also have a greater discrepancy between ideal and perceived body image, which in turn may fuel dieting but also lead to more body dissatisfaction, 12,16 which in turn are suggested to be risk factors for eating pathology. ...
Article
This study was carried out to examine whether sexual orientation predicts future bulimic symptoms and whether alleged risk factors associated with non-heterosexual sexual orientation explain the increased risk. A nationally representative sample of Norwegian high school students (age 14-19; N=2,924) completed self-reports about bulimic symptoms by means of the Bulimic Investigatory Test-Edinborough (BITE), same-sex sexual experience, degree of sexual attraction to the same sex, and alleged risk factors. They were reexamined 5 years later (T2). Same-sex sexual experience before T1 increased the prevalence of bulimic symptoms at T2. Males who were attracted to the same sex at T1 had higher odds for bulimic symptoms compared with heterosexual males. These associations were still significant after controlling for initial bulimic symptoms and alleged risk factors. Same-sex sexual experience in both genders and non-heterosexual sexual attraction among males predict future bulimic symptoms. Commonly advocated explanations for this elevated risk were not supported.
Article
Little is known about body images of siblings of patients with eating disorders. In this study we investigated body images of patients with anorexia or bulimia nervosa and of the patients' brothers and sisters. A computer program was employed that allows modeling perceived and desired body images of patients and family members. Patients, siblings and male and female control subjects rated their body images. The selected images were compared with anthropometric data. All subjects also filled out a body image questionnaire. Data from 30 patients, 38 siblings, and 60 control subjects are presented. Siblings did not differ from healthy control subjects. Self-ideal discrepancy was different in patients with anorexia and their sisters. Body image was more negative in patients than in their sisters. Siblings of patients with eating disorders seem to be rather unimpaired in terms of body image disturbances.
Article
Full-text available
Objectification theory (Fredrickson B. L., & Roberts, T. A. (1997). Psychology of Women Quarterly, 21, 173–206) proposes that body image concerns impair sexual function and satisfaction. The present study was designed to test whether body shame was related to sexual problems and pleasure among heterosexual men and women (N = 320). Using structural equation modeling, we tested whether adult men and women’s body shame was linked to greater sexual problems (lower sexual arousability and ability to reach orgasm) and less pleasure from physical intimacy. Although women were significantly more likely to report appearance concerns than men across sexual and non-sexual contexts, appearance concerns were positively related to both men and women’s sexual problems. The relationship between body shame and sexual pleasure and problems was mediated by sexual self-consciousness during physical intimacy. Men and women’s body shame was related to greater sexual self-consciousness, which in turn predicted lower sexual pleasure and sexual arousability. Results persisted controlling for relationship status and age. Being in a relationship was associated with less sexual self-consciousness and less orgasm difficulty for men and women. Although some paths were significantly stronger for women than for men, results largely supported the proposition that body concerns negatively affect sexual pleasure and promote sexual problems for both men and women. Findings were discussed in terms of objectification theory and the increased cultural emphasis on physical appearance.
Article
Little is known about how fathers of patients with eating disorders perceive their own body. In this study we investigated body image perception of patients with anorexia and bulimia nervosa and body image perception of their fathers in a computer assisted approach. A computer program, the somatomorphic matrix, is presented that allows modeling of perceived and desired body-images of patients and their relatives. Patients and fathers rated their own body images and fathers additionally rated the body images of their daughters. The images implemented in the program correspond with defined percentages of body fat and muscularity. Selected images were compared with subjects' anthropometric data regarding body fat and muscularity. Data from 42 father-daughter-dyads (27 patients with anorexia, 15 with bulimia nervosa) were examined. Differences between both diagnostic groups were compared and associations between fathers' and daughters' body image perceptions within each group were investigated. Patients with anorexia nervosa overestimated their bodies on the body fat dimension. Patients with bulimia nervosa wished to have a body with less fat. Fathers of both groups of patients perceived their own bodies correctly but wished to have less body fat and to be more muscular. The wish for a change in body fat of anorexia nervosa patients was highly correlated with fathers' BMI (r=0.49; p=0.009). The wish for a change in body fat of bulimia nervosa patients was correlated with fathers' distorted body image perception in terms of muscularity (r=-0.66, p=0.007) and with fathers' wish for a more muscular body (r=-0.51, p=0.05). Body images of patients with eating disorders and their fathers are related in the group of patients with bulimia nervosa. Perhaps, body images of fathers should be addressed in family therapy with patients with bulimia nervosa.
Article
Little is known about body images of mothers of patients with eating disorders. In this study we investigated body image in patients with eating disorders and in their mothers, and the relationship of their body images with family functioning. A computer program was used that allows modeling perceived and desired body images of patients and their mothers. Patients and mothers estimated their own body images and mothers estimated the images they have of their daughters with eating disorders. The selected images were compared to anthropometric data and family functioning according to the Family Assessment Measure. Data from 29 patients with the diagnosis of anorexia nervosa and 20 patients with bulimia nervosa are presented. Both in patients with anorexia and in patients with bulimia, aspects of family functioning were associated with mothers' and daughters' perceptual body size distortion and body dissatisfaction. Mothers' perception of family functioning predicted daughters' perceptual body size distortion and body dissatisfaction in the total sample of 49 patients. Body images of mothers and mothers' perceptions of family functioning may provide additional information for the treatment of patients with eating disorders.
Article
Background Changes of perceptual body size distortion and body dissatisfaction during inpatient psychosomatic treatment were assessed. Differences between patients with anorexia and bulimia nervosa were compared.Methods Forty-one female patients with anorexia and 37 with bulimia nervosa were examined at beginning and end of an inpatient psychosomatic treatment. Body images were assessed by the somatomorph matrix and by the Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI-2).ResultsBoth groups showed a distorted body size perception at the beginning of treatment. This decreased with the bulimia patients, with anorexia patients it largely remained in spite of a successful increase in weight. With bulimia patients body satisfaction improved, whereas it hardly changed with anorexia patients.Conclusion Bulimia patients were able to positively modify their body images. Treatment might have enabled patients with anorexia to maintain their level of body satisfaction and to tolerate a bigger perceived body image while they significantly gained weight. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association.
Article
There is an overrepresentation of gay men seeking treatment for eating disorders. This study investigated several factors that were thought to possibly impact the prevalence rates of gay men seeking treatment for eating disorders. The current study investigated the influence that gender role conflict, attitudes towards help seeking, symptom recognition, and media influence have on the prevalence of eating disorders. Nationwide participant recruitment was utilized to gather a sample that consisted of 86 heterosexual men and 75 gay men. Multivariate and univariate analyses of variance were utilized to examine the differences between gay and heterosexual men on the factors of interest. A significant difference was not found between gay and heterosexual men related to gender role conflict or media influence. However, a significant difference was found between heterosexual and gay men on measures of attitudes towards help seeking and symptom recognition. The results support that gender role conflict may have a limited role in the development of eating disorders in gay men and that mental health prevention and awareness within the gay community may be having a positive impact. Implications for the prevention and treatment of eating disorders are discussed as well as directions for future research.
Article
Negative body image, or body image disturbance (BID) has been associated with depression, low self-esteem, and the development of eating disorders. Furthermore, BID may affect an individual regardless of gender or sexual orientation. To synthesise the current literature, we conducted a meta-analysis of 48 studies to determine if BID differed between lesbian versus heterosexual women, lesbian women versus gay men, and gay versus heterosexual men. Body image measures were grouped according to similarities in constructs measured, resulting in five different categories (global satisfaction, figural-rating scales, cognitive measures, affect measures, and male body image). The results indicated that lesbian women reported experiencing less BID compared to heterosexual women on measures of global satisfaction, but more compared to gay men, and gay men reported experiencing greater BID compared to heterosexual men on three out of five analyses. Moderation analyses indicated that the study quality was not a statistically significant moderator of the effect sizes. Results from this updated meta-analysis indicate that, to some degree, BIDs affect individuals regardless of gender and sexual orientation; however, there is some variability associated with sexual orientation.
Article
For over 25 years the varying idealizations of gay men's bodies and the behaviors associated with achieving such bodies has been the focus of an increasingly large body of research. What first constituted an idealized body in this research, in the 1980s, was a thin and youthful image, which evolved into a muscular ideal in the 2000s with thinness translated into lean muscle mass and a small waist. To account for the emergence of both body image dissatisfaction and eating disorders, researchers in both paradigms have tended to either pathologize gay men or speculate about the contribution of a range of social-cultural and psychological factors. These include the role of the gay community, being effeminate or less masculine, and internalized homophobia. HIV and the “wasted” body is claimed to have also influenced the purported recent emergence of the muscular ideal. The underlying driver for both paradigms is the proposition that gay men are universally fixated on their appearance and presenting an idealized body to other men. This critical review examines the fault lines in both paradigms that can be found within prevalence studies, the methodology, data analysis, and the contradictory and problematic theorizing that arise as a result. It concludes that the prevalence and the truth of gay men's body image issues are overstated. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Research has shown men often desire additional muscle mass, a trait related to masculine personality characteristics. While some research has suggested men lacking in muscle may believe themselves to be sexually undesirable to women, little research has been done in this area, especially when compared to the strong literature connecting women's drive for thinness to female sexual behavior. The present study sought to determine the connection between men's body image and men's perceived sexual efficacy and attractiveness. Male undergraduates (N = 105) completed a novel scale of sexual efficacy and attractiveness, in addition to questions relating to self-esteem, sexual behaviors and milestones, desire for muscle, and desire for thinness. Sexual efficacy and attractiveness was positively related to self-esteem, and mediated drive for muscle's negative relationship to self-esteem. Drive for thinness was negatively related to self-esteem, but unrelated to any sexual indices. Results suggest the presence of two types of body image dissatisfaction in men - thinness and muscle - but only the culturally demanded body dimension impacts sexual variables. Implications for future research are discussed.
Article
Full-text available
Although past research indicates gay and bisexual men are more concerned with muscularity than their heterosexual counterparts, studies investigating psychosocial factors contributing to muscle dysmorphia (MD) among gay and bisexual men are limited. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between self-esteem, loneliness, and MD among gay and bisexual men. Participants (N = 304) completed the Muscle Appearance Satisfaction Scale (MASS), Rosenberg Self-esteem Scale (RSES), and UCLA Loneliness Scale (ULS-version 3). A relationship among self-esteem, loneliness, and MD was found. Gay and bisexual men who reported more symptoms of MD also reported lower self-esteem and increased feelings of loneliness, than men who reported fewer MD symptoms. Psychological and environmental variables associated with gay and bisexual men are explored to help explain these results. Implications for future MD research among other oppressed populations also are discussed.
Article
Ideals of male attractiveness have changed considerably. The ideal male body at present is characterized by low body fat and pronounced muscles. Similar to what has been found for women, these normative societal conceptions should influence the pathology of men with eating disorders. In the present study, men with and without eating disorders are compared regarding body satisfaction and body perception. Both questionnaire data and a computer assisted approach are applied. Men with bulimia nervosa wish to have a body with less fat whereas men with anorexia do not wish for a bigger body although they are seriously underweight. Men in all groups wish to have more muscles. Men with and without an eating disorder do not differ in this respect. The wish for less body fat and more muscles is associated with body dissatisfaction in men. Treatment of men with eating disorders should focus on men's body images similar to how it is conceptualized in treatments for women with eating disorders. Different from women, a body image focused approach for men should emphasize the meaning of muscularity.
Article
Using survey results from the 1998 Twin Cities Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Festival (N = 535), we explored associations between body image and unsafe anal intercourse (UAI) among men who have sex with men (MSM), and evaluated whether body satisfaction mediated this association. MSM who reported underweight body image had lower odds than those who reported average weight of UAI (AOR = 0.33; 95% CI = 0.13, 0.85); body satisfaction was not found to mediate this association. 13.3% of men who reported overweight/obese body image had engaged in UAI compared with 21.6% of those who reported average weight and 8.2% of those who reported underweight (p < .05). Compared with MSM in exclusive relationships, MSM in non exclusive relationships had increased odds of UAI (AOR = 5.78; 95% CI = 2.96, 11.29) as did men who were not partnered (AOR = 3.20; 95% CI = 1.72, 5.93). These findings highlight the importance of including body image in sexual behavior models of MSM to better understand body image's role in influencing sexual risk and sexually transmitted infections (STI)/human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transmission.
Article
Full-text available
It is possible that lesbians are as concerned with weight and dieting as are heterosexual women in order to be socially accepted in our society, while men (both gay and heterosexual) have more flexibility in this regard. On the other hand, lesbians, like heterosexual men, may be less concerned with weight than are heterosexual woman and gay men, since the latter groups may strive to be desirable to men. To test these hypotheses, lesbians, gay men, and heterosexual women and men were compared on weight, dieting, preoccupation with weight, and exercise activity. Heterosexual women and gay men reported lower ideal weights and tended to be more preoccupied with their weights than were lesbians or heterosexual men. However, gender was a more salient factor than sexual orientation on most variables, with both lesbians and heterosexual women reporting greater concern with weight, more body dissatisfaction, and greater frequency of dieting than did gay or heterosexual men. The results indicate that both lesbians and heterosexual women are influenced by cultural pressures to be thin, but that these pressures may be greater for heterosexual women.
Article
Full-text available
To investigate whether homosexuality predisposes males to eating disorders, the authors studied 48 nonpatient homosexual male students at UCLA. The homosexual men had higher prevalences of binge-eating problems, of feeling fat in spite of others' perceptions, of feeling terrified of being fat, and of having used diuretics than other male students. They also scored higher on the Eating Disorders Inventory scales for drive for thinness, interoceptive awareness, bulimia, body dissatisfaction, maturity fears, and ineffectiveness. One of the 48 homosexual men and one of the 300 comparison group men met criteria for probable past histories of eating disorders.
Article
Full-text available
Synopsis Nine male patients with bulimia nervosa, accounting for one in 24 bulimic patients attending a clinic for eating disorders, are described. Symptomatology and demographic characteristics were similar in males and females. A history of either anorexia nervosa or obesity was always present, and a chronic course was seen in 6 patients. Five of the men showed atypical sexuality.
Article
Full-text available
The goal of this study was to better understand the etiology, clinical characteristics, and prognosis of eating disorders in males. All males with eating disorders who had been treated at Massachusetts General Hospital from Jan. 1, 1980, to Dec. 31, 1994, were identified. Hospital charts and psychiatric departmental records were reviewed to verify that the eating disorders met DSM-IV criteria and to abstract demographic and clinical data. One hundred thirty-five males with eating disorders were identified, of whom 62 (46%) were bulimic, 30 (22%) were anorexic, and 43 (32%) met criteria for an eating disorder not otherwise specified. There were marked differences in sexual orientation by diagnostic group; 42% of the male bulimic patients were identified as either homosexual or bisexual, and 58% of the anorexic patients were identified as asexual. Comorbid psychiatric disorders were common, particularly major depressive disorder (54% of all patients), substance abuse (37%), and personality disorder (26%). Many patients had a family history of affective disorder (29%) or alcoholism (37%). While most characteristics of males and females with eating disorders are similar, homosexuality/bisexuality appears to be a specific risk factor for males, especially for those who develop bulimia nervosa. Future research on the link between sexual orientation and eating disorders would help guide prevention and treatment strategies.
Article
Full-text available
We sought to assess the relative roles of body fat ideals and body fat perception in men with eating disorders. We compared 27 men meeting criteria for a current eating disorder (17 with anorexia nervosa and 10 with bulimia nervosa), 21 male mountain climbers, and 21 control men, using a computerized test of body image, the "somatomorphic matrix." When asked to choose the body that they "ideally would like to have," men with eating disorders selected an image with body fat closely comparable to that chosen by the control men. On perceived body fat, however, the groups differed dramatically. The eating-disordered men perceived themselves to be almost twice as fat as they actually were, whereas the control subjects showed virtually no such distortion. These findings resemble those of a previous study of women, which found that women dieters showed abnormal body fat perception, but not body fat ideals, when compared with non-dieters. These observations suggest that distorted body perception, rather than body ideal, may be central to eating disorders in men. This distinction may be important for both research and therapy.
Article
Full-text available
Body image disorders appear to be more prevalent in Western than non-Western men. Previous studies by the authors have shown that young Western men display unrealistic body ideals and that Western advertising seems to place an increasing value on the male body. The authors hypothesized that Taiwanese men would exhibit less dissatisfaction with their bodies than Western men and that Taiwanese advertising would place less value on the male body than Western media. The authors administered a computerized test of body image to 55 heterosexual men in Taiwan and compared the results to those previously obtained in an identical study in the United States and Europe. Second, they counted the number of undressed male and female models in American versus Taiwanese women's magazine advertisements. In the body image study, the Taiwanese men exhibited significantly less body dissatisfaction than their Western counterparts. In the magazine study, American magazine advertisements portrayed undressed Western men frequently, but Taiwanese magazines portrayed undressed Asian men rarely. Taiwan appears less preoccupied with male body image than Western societies. This difference may reflect 1) Western traditions emphasizing muscularity and fitness as a measure of masculinity, 2) increasing exposure of Western men to muscular male bodies in media images, and 3) greater decline in traditional male roles in the West, leading to greater emphasis on the body as a measure of masculinity. These factors may explain why body dysmorphic disorder and anabolic steroid abuse are more serious problems in the West than in Taiwan.
Article
This investigation studied eating disorder symptoms and psychosocial correlates of eating disorders among heterosexual females, lesbians, heterosexual males, and gay males. The dependent variables of the study measured: depression, concern for physical appearance, personal evaluation of physical appearance, perceived sociocultural pressure for thinness, media influences promoting thinness, and overconcern with body size/shape. A sample of 412 young adults was studied, including 97 heterosexual males, 116 heterosexual females, 110 gay males, and 89 lesbians. Heterosexual females were found to report the highest level of eating disorder symptoms and concern with body size/shape. Heterosexual males reported the lowest level of eating disorder symptoms and concern with body size/shape, with gay males and lesbians falling between these two groups. Lesbians reported the least concern for physical appearance. Of the variables which were studied, overconcern with body size/shape was the strongest psychosocial correlate of eating disorder symptoms in heterosexual females, gay males, and lesbians. We concluded that eating disorder symptoms and concerns about body size were similar for heterosexual females, gay males, and lesbians, but were quite different for heterosexual males.
Article
This study was designed to examine the role of both sexual orientation and gender-related personality traits in disordered eating attitudes and behavior, including body dissatisfaction. Self-report measures assessing negative and positive gender traits,body dissatisfaction, drive for thinness, dietary restraint, and bulimic symptoms were administered to 266 participants (64 lesbians, 73 heterosexual women, 69 gay men, and 60 heterosexual men; 85% Anglo-Australian Caucasians, 15% Caucasians from Non-English-speaking backgrounds). Consistent with previous research, gay men scored significantly higher than heterosexual men on body dissatisfaction and dietary restraint, whereas lesbians scored significantly lower in comparison to the heterosexual women on body dissatisfaction, drive for thinness, dietary restraint, and bulimia. For men, the additional amount of variance accounted by the gender traits was significantly higher than that accounted for by sexual orientation. For the women, the gender traits also accounted for an additional significant amount of variance; however, overall the amount of variance accounted for by sexual orientation was greater. However, for both men and women, irrespective of their sexual orientation, it was higher scores on negative femininity that predicted higher levels of disordered eating. These results are consistent with previous studies that have found support for the femininity hypothesis in disordered eating.
Article
To test attitudes toward male body image in a society with relatively little media exposure, the authors surveyed 53 men, ages 20-35, among the Ariaal, pastoral nomads of northern Kenya. Measures of body image were obtained using a somatomorphic matrix. Height, weight, and percentage of body fat based on bioelectric impedance were also obtained. Results indicate that men exhibit very little discrepancy between what they perceive as the degree of muscularity preferred by women and that of the average man (.21 kg/m2). Comparison with findings from the United States and Western Europe indicates that Ariaal men show significantly less discrepancy between their judgment of women’s preference for muscularity and the muscularity of the average man. These results support a role for media exposure in attitudes about male body image.
Article
The clinical characteristics of 15 male and 15 female bulimics matched as to age, duration of bulimia, and frequency of self-induced vomiting are compared. All subjects were given an extensive interview and psychometric evaluations to measure depression, anxiety, assertiveness, and attitudes about food and eating. Male subjects had relatively higher current and past weights, greater weight fluctuations, and more realistic perceptions about desired ideal weight than the women. Males also used fewer weight controls, such as laxatives, diet pills, and restrictive eating, but reported more present and past problems with drugs and alcohol. A statistically significant difference was found between men and women on marriage and sexual preference, with more women being married and more men reporting a homosexual or bisexual preference. Men and women scored similarly on psychometric measures. The findings are discussed in terms of differing sociocultural demands for men and women.
Article
I have had the opportunity to work with many individuals with some manifestation of an eating disturbance, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, obesity, and binge eating disorder. These interactions led to an awareness of the particular problems encountered by these patients. This book brings together the findings from my own collaborations with colleagues, along with those from many noted researchers in the field. Body image is of central importance in the effective assessment and management of eating disorders (EDs) and obesity. Thus, body image became a major unifying theme of the book. A 2nd reason for undertaking this work was to provide empirically supported information about the most effective assessment and treatment strategies for body image disturbance, EDs, and obesity. With regard to assessment, this has resulted in an emphasis on psychometrically sound assessment instruments, interview methodologies, and medical evaluation of physical status. With regard to treatment, the emphasis is on cognitive-behavioral and pharmacologic interventions, although other approaches are also discussed, because cognitive-behavioral and pharmacological therapies have the most empirical support. One goal was to provide information at differing levels of clinician sophistication. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Forty-one young gay British males (aged between 15 and 25 years) and 47 heterosexual men were compared on measures of eating disturbance and body dissatisfaction. All participants completed a questionnaire containing a number of previously validated scales including EAT-26, the BSS and a series of line-drawings. Gay participants scored higher on all measures of eating disturbance and were more dissatisfied with their bodies. The gay sample chose ideal images that were significantly slimmer than the heterosexuals and were much more likely to show symptoms of a clinical disorder. Results from gay participants revealed strong correlations between levels of eating disturbance, self-esteem and body dissatisfaction whilst these relationships did not achieve significance for heterosexuals. The findings strongly confirm American research that suggests that gay men are particularly vulnerable to serious eating disturbance. Potential explanations and implications of these findings for gay men and those who work with them are briefly discussed. © 1998 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association.
Article
A nonclinical sample of 43 homosexual and 32 heterosexual men completed two self-report inventories regarding weight, body satisfaction, eating attitudes, and behaviors. Subjects were also asked to select their current and ideal figures, the weight they felt would be most attractive to a potential partner, and the weight to which they would be most attracted in a potential partner from figures representing very thin to very heavy physiques. Heterosexual men were significantly heavier than homosexual men and desired a significantly heavier ideal weight. Although the current and ideal physiques selected by the homosexual and heterosexual men were almost identical, homosexual men were more likely to desire an underweight ideal. A heightened pursuit of thinness may place homosexual men at an increased risk for developing eating disorders.
Article
The study examined influences on body satisfaction, disordered eating, and exercise behavior of a male subculture that places a heightened emphasis on appearance: the homosexual male subculture. Subjects were 71 homosexual and 71 heterosexual men. Relative to heterosexual men, homosexual men showed more body dissatisfaction and considered appearance more central to their sense of self. Also, their exercise was more motivated by a desire to improve attractiveness. Among the homosexual but not the heterosexual group, men who desired to be thinner showed more attitudes and behaviors associated with disordered eating than men who were thinner than their desired size. In contrast, heterosexual but not homosexual men who wished to be heavier had lower self-esteem scores than men who were heavier than or equal to their desired size. The findings support a view that a male subculture that emphasizes appearance may heighten the vulnerability of its members to body dissatisfaction and disordered eating.
Article
We calculated fat-free mass index (FFMI) in a sample of 157 male athletes, comprising 83 users of anabolic-androgenic steroids and 74 nonusers. FFMI is defined by the formula (fat-free body mass in kg) x (height in meters)-2. We then added a slight correction of 6.3 x (1.80 m - height) to normalize these values to the height of a 1.8-m man. The normalized FFMI values of athletes who had not used steroids extended up to a well-defined limit of 25.0. Similarly, a sample of 20 Mr. America winners from the presteroid era (1939-1959), for whom we estimated the normalized FFMI, had a mean FFMI of 25.4. By contrast, the FFMI of many of the steroid users in our sample easily exceeded 25.0, and that of some even exceeded 30. Thus, although these findings must be regarded as preliminary, it appears that FFMI may represent a useful initial measure to screen for possible steroid abuse, especially in athletic, medical, or forensic situations in which individuals may attempt to deny such behavior.
Article
This study investigated the hypothesis that gay men and heterosexual women are dissatisfied with their bodies and vulnerable to eating disorders because of a shared emphasis on physical attractiveness and thinness that is based on a desire to attract and please men. Although men place priority on physical attractiveness in evaluating potential partners, women place greater emphasis on other factors, such as personality, status, power, and income. Therefore, lesbians and heterosexual men are less concerned with their own physical attractiveness and, consequently, less dissatisfied with their bodies and less vulnerable to eating disorders. Several instruments measuring body satisfaction, the importance of physical attractiveness, and symptoms of eating disorders were administered to 250 college students. The sample included 53 lesbians, 59 gay men, 62 heterosexual women, and 63 heterosexual men. Multivariate and univariate analyses of variance were used to examine the differences among the scores of lesbians, gay men, heterosexual women, and heterosexual men on these various constructs. The results generally confirmed the research hypothesis. The implications and ramifications these findings have for the understanding of both the psychology of lesbians and gay men and the prevention and treatment of eating disorders are discussed.
Article
Whereas gay culture's presumed emphasis on physical appearance may potentiate body dissatisfaction, lesbian culture's seeming lack of emphasis on appearance may protect against body dissatisfaction. We examined body dissatisfaction, associated psychosocial variables, and affiliation with the gay and lesbian community. Self-report measures were administered to 257 subjects (69 lesbians, 72 heterosexual women, 58 gay men, and 58 heterosexual men). Compared with heterosexual men, gay men reported significantly more body dissatisfaction and more distress in many of the psychosocial areas related to body dissatisfaction. In contrast, lesbians and heterosexual women did not differ in these areas. Although affiliation with the gay community was associated with body dissatisfaction in gay men, affiliation with the lesbian community was unrelated to body dissatisfaction in lesbians. It seems that aspects of the gay community increase vulnerability to body dissatisfaction, yet the values of the lesbian community do not seem to be protective against body dissatisfaction.
Article
The hypothesis that homosexual orientation would be associated with higher rates of body dissatisfaction, dieting, and eating disordered behaviors in males, but lower rates in females, relative to those of heterosexual orientation, was examined. A population-based sample of 36,320 students in Grades 7 through 12 completed a health behavior survey that included questions on sexual orientation, body satisfaction, and weight control behaviors. A subset of heterosexual males (N = 212) and females (N = 182) were selected for comparison with the adolescents who self-identified as homosexual (N = 81 males and N = 38 females) or bisexual (N = 131 males and N = 144 females). Homosexual males were more likely to report a poor body image (27.8% vs. 12.0%), frequent dieting (8.9% vs. 5.5%), binge eating (25.0% vs. 10.6%), or purging behaviors (e.g., vomiting: 11.7% vs. 4.4%) compared with heterosexual males. Homosexual females were more likely than heterosexual females to report a positive body image (42.1% vs. 20.5%). However, they were not less likely to report frequent dieting (20.8% vs. 23.7%), binge eating (25.0% vs. 31.8%), or purging behaviors (e.g. vomiting: 19.4% vs. 12.1%). These results support the hypothesis that homosexual orientation is associated with greater body dissatisfaction and problem eating behaviors in males, but less body dissatisfaction in females. The possible role of sociocultural influences or gender identification on these relationships is discussed.
Article
The authors tested the hypothesis that men in modern Western societies would desire to have a much leaner and more muscular body than the body they actually had or perceived themselves to have. The height, weight, and body fat of college-aged men in Austria (N=54), France (N=65), and the United States (N=81) were measured. Using the somatomorphic matrix, a computerized test devised by the authors, the men chose the body image that they felt represented 1) their own body, 2) the body they ideally would like to have, 3) the body of an average man of their age, and 4) the male body they believed was preferred by women. The men's actual fat and muscularity was compared with that of the four images chosen. Only slight demographic and physical differences were found among the three groups of men. Modest differences were found between the men's measured fat and the fat of the images chosen. However, measures of muscularity produced large and highly significant differences. In all three countries, men chose a ideal body that was a mean of about 28 lb (13 kg) more muscular than themselves and estimated that women preferred a male body about 30 lb (14 kg) more muscular than themselves. In a pilot study, however, the authors found that actual women preferred an ordinary male body without added muscle. The wide discrepancy between men's actual muscularity and their body ideals may help explain the apparent rise in disorders such as muscle dysmorphia and anabolic steroid abuse.
Article
To assess the relative roles of body fat, body perception, and body ideals as motivations for dieting in college women. We compared 45 college women who reported having dieted with 32 who had not, using a novel computerized test of body image called the somatomorphic matrix. As expected, the difference in body fat between subjects' "perceived body" and "ideal body" was significantly greater in dieters than in nondieters (p < .001). Remarkably, however, this difference remained highly significant even after adjusting for the subjects' actual measured body fat (p = .002). Further analysis revealed that this difference persisted, not because dieters had unrealistic ideals of thinness, but because they had distorted perceptions of their fatness. Distorted body image perception, a potentially treatable condition, may play an unexpectedly large role in motivating young women to diet.
Article
This study evaluated the moderating effects of sexual orientation and exercise status on measures of body image and eating disturbance in a sample of men. One hundred and thirty-four men completed measures designed to index a range of body image facets (ideals, actual, partner's preference, overall dissatisfaction), eating disturbance (restrictive and bulimic levels), and overall self-esteem. There were few significant effects as a function of exercise status or sexual orientation. Bodybuilders were more satisfied on a global measure of body image and had a higher ideal and actual upper torso size rating. Gay men had a smaller actual upper torso rating than heterosexual men, but ideal size upper torso did not differ as a function of sexual orientation. Findings are discussed in terms of methodological limits of previous work and future examinations of moderating factors for body image and eating disturbance in men.
Article
The current study examined whether homosexuality is a specific risk factor for disordered eating in men. Men (64 heterosexual and 58 homosexual) completed the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSE), the Masculinity and Femininity scales of the Bem Sex-Role Inventory (BSRI), the Bulimia Test-Revised (BULIT-R), the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26), and the Body Shape Questionnaire (BSQ). Homosexual men had more pathological scores on the BDI, RSE, BULIT-R, EAT-26, and BSQ. Additionally, homosexual men reported greater discomfort with sexual orientation. After controlling for differences in depression, self-esteem, and comfort with sexual orientation, sexual orientation continued to account for significant variance in BULIT-R, EAT-26, and BSQ scores. Future research may benefit from exploring aspects of homosexuality that may contribute specifically to risk for disordered eating in men.
Article
This article examines the literature related to the media, body image, and diet/weight issues in children and young women. The media holds an awesome power to influence young women, bombarding them with images of abnormally thin models who seem to represent the ideal. When the majority of adolescents inevitably fail to achieve the extremely thin image they crave, body dissatisfaction results, and disordered eating can begin. Emerging research in the pediatric and adolescent literature demonstrates that children as young as 5 are already anxious about their bodies, and want to be thinner. This obsessive interest in body weight is only fueled by a dramatic increase in the number of Internet Web sites devoted to disordered eating. Unfortunately many of the Web sites are "pro-ana" (pro anorexia) and "pro-mia" (pro bulimia); these Web sites encourage young people at risk to begin starving themselves, or to begin binge-purging. As nurses know, each of these scenarios can lead to serious illness, and sometimes to death.
Article
The present study investigated body concerns in a community sample of 52 homosexual men, as well as two comparison groups comprising 51 heterosexual men and 55 heterosexual women. Gay men were found to score significantly more highly than heterosexual men on all measures of disordered eating, and did not differ significantly from women on Drive for Thinness or Bulimia. They also scored significantly more highly than heterosexual men and women on Drive for Muscularity (a scale developed for this study), suggesting that the gay 'ideal' involves not only being thin, but also being muscular. Interestingly, however, gay men did not differ significantly from heterosexual men on body esteem, with both groups scoring higher than the women. While body esteem was found to be related to self-esteem for all of the groups, for gay men only self-esteem was negatively related to the importance to others of appearance, weight, and muscularity, perhaps reflecting increased pressure within the gay community to attain the ideal body shape.
Article
The appearance of muscularity is an emerging topic of research interest within the body image field. However, the most widely used measure to assess attitudes toward muscularity, the somatomorphic matrix, lacks pertinent reliability data. In response to this dearth of information, the current study assessed the test-retest reliability of this measure in samples of men and women. Surprisingly, the somatomorphic matrix demonstrated inadequate reliability for the majority of assessed rating protocols. The implications of this finding on assessment of the muscularity construct are discussed.
Bulimia nervosa in the male: a report of nine cases Behaviors and attitudes related to eating disorders in homosexual male college students
  • Ph Robinson
  • Nl Holden
  • F Kurtzman
  • J Landsverk
Robinson PH, Holden NL. Bulimia nervosa in the male: a report of nine cases. Psychol Med 1986;16:795–803 7. Yager J, Kurtzman F, Landsverk J, et al. Behaviors and attitudes related to eating disorders in homosexual male college students. Am J Psychiatry 1988;145:495–497
The Adonis Complex: The Secret Crisis of Male Body Obsession
  • H G Pope
  • K A Phillips
  • R Olivardia
Pope HG Jr, Phillips KA, Olivardia R. The Adonis Complex: The Secret Crisis of Male Body Obsession. New York, NY: Free Press; 2000
Why do young women diet? the roles of body fat, body perception, and body ideal
  • Aj Gruber
  • Hg Pope
  • Jr
  • Jk Lalonde
Gruber AJ, Pope HG Jr, Lalonde JK, et al. Why do young women diet? the roles of body fat, body perception, and body ideal. J Clin Psychiatry 2001;62:609-611
Body image perception among men in three countries
  • Hg Pope
  • Jr
  • Aj Gruber
  • B Mangweth
Pope HG Jr, Gruber AJ, Mangweth B, et al. Body image perception among men in three countries. Am J Psychiatry 2000;157:1297-1301
Male body image in Taiwan vs the West: Yanggang Zhiqi meets the Adonis complex
  • Cf Yang
  • P Gray
  • Hg Pope
  • Jr
Yang CF, Gray P, Pope HG Jr. Male body image in Taiwan vs the West: Yanggang Zhiqi meets the Adonis complex. Am J Psychiatry. In press