constant through the life course: 23.5 percent evidenced depression during ages 10–14, 24.8 percent during ages 30–39, and 26 percent during ages 40–49. The authors interpret this difference between older and younger respondents as an indication of generational differences in adaptation due to the increased visibility of transgender identity.

Eating Disorders/Body Image

Some research, using small samples, suggests that sexual-minority status may be a risk factor for eating disorders among men. Far less research has been conducted among lesbians and bisexual women to determine whether there is an association—either positive or negative—between sexual orientation and eating disorders or body image.

Russell and Keel (2002), for example, conducted a study to examine eating disorders in a convenience sample (n = 122) of gay and heterosexual men, based on their self-identified sexual orientation and sexual behavior (past 2 years); bisexual men were excluded. They observed higher levels of body dissatisfaction and bulimic and anorexic symptoms in gay compared with heterosexual men, even after controlling for depression, self-esteem, and comfort with sexual orientation. Kaminski and colleagues (2005) examined body image in a convenience sample (n = 50) of self-identified gay and heterosexual men. They found that, compared with the heterosexual men, the gay men were more dissatisfied with their bodies even though they were no more likely to be heavier than their perceived ideal weight. In an earlier study, Beren and colleagues (1996) examined differences in body dissatisfaction in a convenience sample (n = 257) of lesbian, gay, and heterosexual adults. Sexual orientation was based on self-reports of attraction to the same or other sex. The authors found that, compared with heterosexual men, gay men reported more body dissatisfaction, even though they were not significantly further from their body ideal. No significant difference was found in body dissatisfaction between lesbians and heterosexual women. Feldman and Meyer (2007b) compared the prevalence of eating disorders in a venue-based sample of 126 white heterosexuals and 388 white, black, and Latino LGB men and women and found that, compared with the heterosexual men, the gay and bisexual men had a higher lifetime prevalence of such disorders. The authors did not find a significant difference in the lifetime prevalence of eating disorders among lesbians and heterosexual and bisexual women. In the previously mentioned study by Koh and Ross (2006), the authors found that bisexual women were more than twice as likely to have had an eating disorder than lesbians. If a bisexual woman reported that she was out, she was twice as likely to have had an eating disorder than a heterosexual woman. These studies demonstrate that further

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement