Body size moderates the association between gay community identification and body image disturbance

David Matthew Doyle, Renee Suzanne Engeln

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Researchers have suggested that sexual minority men are at increased risk for body image disturbance relative to heterosexual men because of heightened focus on appearance within the gay community. However, this research has often assumed sexual minority men endorse a monolithic body ideal, despite evidence for different ideals within the gay community. The current survey research in a community-based sample of 76 sexual minority men examined how the effect of identification with the gay community on body image varied depending upon the body type of the participant and the form of body image disturbance (i.e., desire to be smaller vs. desire for greater muscularity). For relatively heavier sexual minority men, gay community identification was associated with less body dissatisfaction but potentially more drive for muscularity. For relatively thinner sexual minority men, the pattern was reversed. The results point to a need for a more nuanced examination of the role that varying body ideals within the gay community may have on body image disturbance.
LanguageEnglish (US)
Pages279-284
Number of pages6
JournalPsychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity
Volume1
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2014

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title = "Body size moderates the association between gay community identification and body image disturbance",
abstract = "Researchers have suggested that sexual minority men are at increased risk for body image disturbance relative to heterosexual men because of heightened focus on appearance within the gay community. However, this research has often assumed sexual minority men endorse a monolithic body ideal, despite evidence for different ideals within the gay community. The current survey research in a community-based sample of 76 sexual minority men examined how the effect of identification with the gay community on body image varied depending upon the body type of the participant and the form of body image disturbance (i.e., desire to be smaller vs. desire for greater muscularity). For relatively heavier sexual minority men, gay community identification was associated with less body dissatisfaction but potentially more drive for muscularity. For relatively thinner sexual minority men, the pattern was reversed. The results point to a need for a more nuanced examination of the role that varying body ideals within the gay community may have on body image disturbance.",
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AB - Researchers have suggested that sexual minority men are at increased risk for body image disturbance relative to heterosexual men because of heightened focus on appearance within the gay community. However, this research has often assumed sexual minority men endorse a monolithic body ideal, despite evidence for different ideals within the gay community. The current survey research in a community-based sample of 76 sexual minority men examined how the effect of identification with the gay community on body image varied depending upon the body type of the participant and the form of body image disturbance (i.e., desire to be smaller vs. desire for greater muscularity). For relatively heavier sexual minority men, gay community identification was associated with less body dissatisfaction but potentially more drive for muscularity. For relatively thinner sexual minority men, the pattern was reversed. The results point to a need for a more nuanced examination of the role that varying body ideals within the gay community may have on body image disturbance.

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