Written by Aaron J. Blashill, Ph.D.
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Anecdotal and media reports tend to view gay men as having high levels of dissatisfaction with their appearance. However, what does the scientific evidence reveal on this topic? Meta-analytic data (that is, a study that combines data from multiple independent studies) indicate that gay men tend to report slightly higher levels of dissatisfaction toward their bodies compared to heterosexual men. Recent data also suggest that heterosexual men report the lowest levels of body dissatisfaction compared to heterosexual women, and gay men and lesbians, with little differences noted between the latter groups. In fact, among gay men there was a 32% prevalence rate of body dissatisfaction, compared to 24%, 35%, and 38% for heterosexual men, lesbians, and heterosexual women, respectively. Although gay men may not be the most at risk group of the four, they clearly have elevated rates compared to heterosexual men, and possess comparable levels of body dissatisfaction to women.
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