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2017 | 17 | 3 | 189–194
Article title

Sexual orientation and eating disorders: exploring the possible link

Title variants
Orientacja seksualna a zaburzenia odżywiania: badanie możliwego związku
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This paper is aimed at investigating the potential connection between the prevalence of eating disorders and sexual orientation, as well as to exploring the nature of the possible relationship. For that purpose, results of studies found in digital databases were searched and analysed. Such a link has been found to exist, yet its character is difficult to determine due to limited data, problems in classifying patients’ sexual orientation, or collecting honest answers to sensitive but crucial questions. Most studies on the subject have been conducted in the USA and, rather predictably, mainly among women. Higher incidence rates were found in non-heterosexual men and bisexual women. It is not clear if homosexual women are more susceptible as well. It may be a result of being exposed to unique risk factors, such as common body image dissatisfaction, fear of coming out, or falling a victim to bullying. The lack of family support among sexual minorities also seems to be a significant factor – not only regarding the development of eating disorders but their effective treatment as well. This knowledge may be helpful in the prevention of eating disorders, making clinical examination more accurate and facilitating adjustments of therapy for people with eating disorders. Further research is needed, including more eating disorders and sexual orientation groups.
Artykuł ma na celu sprawdzenie istnienia związku pomiędzy występowaniem zaburzeń odżywiania a orientacją seksualną, jak również ewentualnego charakteru takiego powiązania. W tym celu zestawiono wyniki prac znalezionych w cyfrowych bazach danych. Związek taki istotnie występuje, jednak ustalenie jego charakteru jest trudne ze względu na ograniczone dane, problematyczną klasyfikację orientacji seksualnej badanych oraz pozyskiwanie szczerych odpowiedzi na drażliwe, lecz kluczowe pytania. Większość badań została przeprowadzona w Stanach Zjednoczonych i, jak się spodziewano, głównie wśród kobiet. Wykazano, że zaburzenia odżywiania częściej występują u nieheteroseksualnych mężczyzn oraz biseksualnych kobiet – nie mamy pewności, czy homoseksualne kobiety również są bardziej podatne. Taki stan może wynikać z narażenia na unikalne czynniki ryzyka, takie jak częste niezadowolenie z własnego wyglądu, strach przed coming outem czy bycie ofiarą prześladowania. Brak wsparcia rodziny wśród przedstawicieli mniejszości seksualnych również wydaje się istotnym czynnikiem – nie tylko w zakresie rozwoju zaburzenia, lecz także jego efektywnego leczenia. Wiedza ta może pomóc w prewencji zaburzeń odżywiania, uczynić wywiad z pacjentem oraz jego terapię bardziej precyzyjnymi. Potrzebne są jednak dalsze badania, szczególnie w zakresie pozostałych zaburzeń odżywiania oraz orientacji seksualnych.
Physical description
  • Faculty of Philology, University of Lodz, Łódź, Poland (student); Faculty of Health Sciences, Medical University of Lodz, Łódź, Poland (student); Department of Medical Psychology, Medical University of Lodz, Łódź, Poland
  • Department of Medical Psychology, Medical University of Lodz, Łódź, Poland
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