Title

Intrasexual Competition and Eating Restriction in Heterosexual and Homosexual Individuals

Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

2010

Abstract

Restrictive eating attitudes and behaviors have been hypothesized to be related to processes of intrasexual competition. According to this perspective, within-sex competition for status serves the adaptive purpose of attracting mates. As such, status competition salience may lead to concerns of mating desirability. For heterosexual women and gay men, such concerns revolve around appearing youthful and, thus, thinner. Following this logic, we examined how exposure to high-status and competitive (but not thin or highly attractive) same-sex individuals would influence body image and eating attitudes in heterosexual and in gay/lesbian individuals. Results indicated that for heterosexuals, intrasexual competition cues led to greater body image dissatisfaction and more restrictive eating attitudes for women, but not for men. In contrast, for homosexual individuals, intrasexual competition cues led to worse body image and eating attitudes for gay men, but not for lesbian women. These findings support the idea that the ultimate explanation for eating disorders is related to intrasexual competition.

Keywords

Intrasexual competition, Sex differences, Sexual orientation, Eating disorders, Body image

Discipline

Gender and Sexuality | Social Psychology

Research Areas

Psychology

Publication

Evolution and Human Behavior

Volume

31

First Page

365

Last Page

372

ISSN

1090-5138

Identifier

10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2010.05.004

Publisher

Springer Verlag

Additional URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2010.05.004

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