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The impact of relationships on the association between sexual orientation and disordered eating in men




Robust evidence supports that bisexual and gay (BG) men have increased eating pathology compared to heterosexual men. BG men may be at greater risk due to pressure to attract a male partner; however, the related implication that relationships serve as protective factors for BG men remains untested.


BG (n = 42) and heterosexual men (n = 536) completed surveys to determine whether relationship status and satisfaction moderate sexual orientation's effect on disordered eating.


Single BG men had increased restrictive disordered eating compared to single heterosexual men, while few differences were found between BG and heterosexual men in relationships. Relationship satisfaction was not related to restrictive disordered eating; however, low relationship satisfaction was associated with increased bulimic symptomatology in BG men compared to heterosexual men.


Being in a relationship, independent of whether or not the relationship is satisfying, may be a protective factor for restrictive disordered eating in BG men. © 2012 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2012; 45:792–799)

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