The relationship between body mass index, body dissatisfaction, and eating pathology in sexual minority women

Cherrelle L. Jones*, Jillianne L. Fowle, Rimma Ilyumzhinova, Johnny Berona, Kimberley Mbayiwa, Andrea B. Goldschmidt, Lindsay P. Bodell, Stephanie D. Stepp, Alison E. Hipwell, Kate E. Keenan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Objective: Eating pathology is more prevalent among women compared to men, but prevalence and correlates associated with eating pathology likely vary among subgroups of women. This study examines prevalence and correlates of restrictive and weight control-related eating pathology in sexual minority women. Method: Data were collected from the Pittsburgh Girls Study (PGS). Participants reported on sexual orientation, and race, and body mass index (BMI) was derived from interviewer collected height and weight. Participants completed the Body Image Measure and the Eating Attitudes Test-26. Results: Sexual minority women reported higher BMIs [F (1, 862) = 14.69, p <.001], higher levels of body dissatisfaction [F (1, 960) = 3.12, p <.01], and higher levels of eating pathology [F (1, 950) = 14.21, p <.001] than heterosexual women. Body dissatisfaction mediated the relationship between BMI and eating pathology, and levels of associations were not attenuated by sexual minority status. Race moderated the association between sexual orientation and eating pathology; compared to all other groups, White sexual minority women had the highest level of eating pathology. Discussion Results indicate that White sexual minority women have higher levels of eating pathology than Black sexual minority women and both Black and White heterosexual women. Future studies that draw from larger and more diverse, community-based samples are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)730-734
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2019


  • body image
  • body mass index
  • eating disorders
  • race
  • sexual minority

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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