Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Eating disorders in women, Lesbians-Psychology, Gays-Psychology, Bisexuals-Psychology, Transgender people-Psychology, Women-Psychology, Eating disorder, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Straight


This study used a quantitative, fixed-method research design to explore the trends of eating disordered attitudes and behaviors in women. Specifically, it investigated whether there were differences in prevalence of eating disordered attitudes and behaviors between heterosexual women and women who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender or Queer. Participants were found using snowball sampling. 556 women participated in the research by completing an online survey. The survey instrument they were then asked to complete was EAT-26, used to asses if a person may be at high risk for an eating disorder. The ages of the participants ranged from 18-83 years old. The mean age of participants was 31.63. There were 14 women who self -identified as Transgender. 338 women identified as heterosexual (60.8%), 61 women identified as Lesbian, 6 women identified as Gay, 73 identified as Bisexual, 62 identified as Queer and 16 identified as other. The results of this study show that there were no significant differences in disordered eating between women who identified as heterosexual and women who identified as homosexual. However, differences were found among homosexual women based on a more detailed breakdown of their sexual identity. A higher percent of women who identified as lesbian were at risk for an eating disorder (23%) than those who identified as bisexual (8.2%) queer (6.2%) or gay (0%). This study also looked at eating disorder rates for transgendered women, and found the percent of transgendered women with disordered eating (14.3%) fell within national averages (Gordon, 1990).




iv, 38 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2012. Includes bibliographical references (p. 28-29)