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Keywords:

  • eating disorders;
  • gender role;
  • EDI;
  • Bem Sex Role Inventory

Abstract

Objective

The aim of the current study was to investigate associations between gender role orientation and eating pathology in a sample of females with eating disorders (ED).

Methods

Sixty-eight women with anorexia nervosa and 123 women with bulimia nervosa completed the Bem Sex Role Inventory (BSRI), the Eating Disorders Inventory, and the Sexual Anxiety subscale of the Anorexia Nervosa Inventory for Self-Rating.

Results

All three subscales of the BSRI—femininity, masculinity, and social desirability—correlated negatively with self-reported ED behavior and attitudes. Individuals with high levels of androgyny (i.e., those scoring high on femininity and masculinity) reported lower levels of ED symptomatology compared with undifferentiated individuals (i.e., those scoring low on femininity and masculinity), who showed higher levels of ED symptoms.

Discussion

Femininity and masculinity, although independent traits, should not be considered isolated from each other in the context of ED. In females with ED, androgyny appears to be associated with lower levels of ED symptoms. Self-esteem may play a mediating role in this association. © 2005 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.