Objective: To examine differences in eating disorder (ED) risk and diagnosis by sexual orientation in a national sample of college students. Method: Data from 178 U.S. colleges and universities participating in the Healthy Minds Study between 2016 and 2019 were analyzed (36,691 cisgender men, 81,730 cisgender women; 15.7% self-identifying as sexual minorities). Outcomes were ED risk (≥2 on the SCOFF) and self-reported lifetime ED diagnosis. Prevalence estimates adjusted for demographics and weight status were computed via logistic regression. Results: Higher proportions of questioning (29.1%), bisexual (26.3%), and gay men (30.9%) exhibited elevated risk than heterosexual men (14.3%), and a higher proportion of gay men exhibited elevated risk than bisexual men. Higher proportions of questioning (34.5%) and bisexual women (34.6%) exhibited elevated risk than heterosexual women (27.6%); proportions of lesbian (28.1%) and heterosexual women were similar. Among those with elevated risk, higher proportions of bisexual (5.0%) and gay men (7.1%) and of questioning (14.7%), bisexual (18.1%), and lesbian women (19.6%) had been diagnosed relative to heterosexual men (2.0%) and heterosexual women (10.3%), respectively. Discussion: Questioning and bisexual individuals appear to be particularly vulnerable; they may experience elevated ED risk relative to their heterosexual peers yet underdiagnosis relative to their gay or lesbian peers.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (Grant Number T32 MH082761).
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- feeding and eating disorders
- sexual and gender minorities
- sexual orientation
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article
- Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural