Body image and eating disorder symptoms in sexual minority men: A test and extension of objectification theory.

Published: April 1, 2011

Abstract

On the basis of integrating objectification theory research with research on body image and eating problems among sexual minority men, the present study examined relations among sociocultural and psychological correlates of eating disorder symptoms with a sample of 231 sexual minority men. Results of a path analysis supported tenets of objectification theory with the sample. Specifically, findings were consistent with relations posited in objectification theory among sexual objectification experiences, internalization of cultural standards of attractiveness, body surveillance, body shame, and eating disorder symptoms. Within this set of positive relations, internalization of cultural standards of attractiveness partially mediated the link of sexual objectification experiences with body surveillance; body surveillance partially mediated the relation of internalization with body shame; and body shame partially mediated the relation of body surveillance with eating disorder symptoms. In addition to these relations, internalized homophobia was related to greater eating disorder symptoms through body shame, and recalled childhood harassment for gender nonconformity was linked with eating disorder symptoms through a positive series of relations involving internalization of cultural standards of attractiveness, body surveillance, and body shame.

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