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The measure of a man: Associations between digit ratio and disordered eating in males

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Abstract

Objective

The current study sought to determine whether there is a relationship between prenatal testosterone exposure, as indicated by the digit ratios of the second to fourth fingers (2D:4D ratio), and disordered eating and drive for muscularity in men.

Method

Digit ratios were calculated by measuring photocopies of participants' finger lengths. Self-reported body image and eating attitudes and behaviors were assessed.

Results

There were significant correlations between 2D:4D ratio and disordered eating and drive for leanness, indicating that greater prenatal testosterone exposure was associated with less disordered eating and increased drive for muscularity.

Discussion

This suggests that greater prenatal testosterone exposure may be protective factor against the development of eating disorders in men. Potential mechanisms are discussed. © 2009 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2010; 43:543–548

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