Body Size Moderates the Association Between Gay Community Identification and Body Image Disturbance

David Matthew Doyle*, Renee Engeln

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-284
Number of pages6
JournalPsychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014


  • Body image disturbance
  • Body mass index
  • Community identification
  • Sexual minority men

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Psychology(all)


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