Sexuality and Eating Psychopathology

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Colleges, School and Institutes


Objective: Previous research suggests that eating disorders are related to homosexuality in men, although links with female sexual orientation are less clear. Appearance factors have generally been implicated in this relationship. However, previous studies have failed to consider the role of femininity, even though evidence suggests that this is a more critical factor than sexual preference. The aim of this study was to consider the relationship between gender-role orientation and eating psychopathology in nonclinical men and women of different sexual orientations. Method: One hundred university students (40 homosexual; 60 heterosexual) completed the Bem Sex Role Inventory and the Eating Attitudes Test. Results: For the group as a whole, there were links between femininity and high levels of eating psychopathology, whereas masculinity was associated with relatively healthy eating-related attitudes and behaviors. When considering the role of sexual orientation, these links were specific to homosexual men and women. Conclusions: In relation to homosexual men and women, the results support a model where femininity might be seen as a specific risk factor for eating disorders, whereas masculinity is likely to De a protective factor. Methodological and conceptual implications are discussed. (C) 2001 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)314-318
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2001


  • femininity, sexual orientation, masculinity, eating psychopathology