Description: It has only been in recent years that eating disorder researchers have begun focusing on sexual orientation as a variable that may affect prevalence rates. Heeding the call for studies that extend beyond identification of fixed eating disorder risk factors (e.g., gender), this study was designed to explore factors that contribute to the development of disordered eating among lesbians. In this study, a hypothesized Lesbian Model of Disordered Eating was tested using structural equation modeling. Lesbian Sexual Identity and Social Supports were hypothesized to positively influence Psychological Health. In addition, Internalization of U.S. Societal Norms of beauty and attractiveness was hypothesized to negatively affect Psychological Health. Psychological Health, in turn, was hypothesized to negatively influence Body Image Concerns. Body Image Concerns was then hypothesized to positively affect Disordered Eating. The fit of the model was evaluated and one of the hypothesized pathways, Internalization of Norms was moved to directly predict Body Image Concerns. After adjusting the model, the model accounted for 54% of the variance in disordered eating. Most notably, the results highlight the potential affects of adopting a positive lesbian identity on disordered eating and underscore the importance of including sexual identity as a demographic variable in studies of body image and disordered eating. Implications for counseling and directions for future research are discussed.
Date: August 2002
Creator: Joshua, Michelle D.
Item Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Partner: UNT Libraries