Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Risk, Body Image, and Internalized Homonegativity Among Gay Men: Body Building, Eating Disturbance, Tanning, and Unsafe Sex
by Reilly, Andrew H., Ph.D., The Ohio State University, 2004, 204; 10834925
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this research is to examine how internalized homonegativity, body image, and self-esteem influence sexual behaviors, risky appearance management behaviors (AMB), motivations for risky AMB, and consumer behaviors, using the Theory of Cognitive Dissonance as a guide. Risky behaviors examined include unsafe sexual practices, risky AMB (working-out, over-the-counter muscle-building product use (OTC), steroid use, dieting, binging and purging, diet pill use, laxative use, sun tanning, salon tanning, and cosmetic tanning). Although there is little research linking body image to consumer behaviors, this area was also investigated. Consumer behaviors examined were credit card debt, frequency of shopping, price comparison, groom time, time spent shopping, and enjoyment from shopping. Ten hypotheses investigated the links between body image, internalized homonegativity, self-esteem, risky AMB, and risky sex.

A survey methodology was used. An on-line questionnaire was developed which included: (1) the Multidimensional Body-Self Relations Questionnaire; (2) the Nungesser Homosexual Attitudes Inventory; (3) the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Inventory; (4) an Appearance Risk and Motivations scale; (5) the Eating Attitudes Test-26; (6) a consumer behavior questionnaire; and (7) a demographic questionnaire. The website was listed with search engines and search directories, and was advertised with flyers, chat-room postings, and word-of-mouth.

Data were stored in a text file, downloaded, and analyzed. Analysis included frequencies, means, simple regression, and multiple regression.

Participants were 234 self-identified gay or bisexual men age 18 or older; most were white and lived throughout the United States of America.

Results revealed that body image predicts some motives for risky behaviors, such as bodybuilding, OTC muscle-building product use, dieting, and sun tanning; internalized homonegativity predicts appearance evaluation and appearance satisfaction, as well as self-esteem; self-esteem predicts motives for behaviors such as bodybuilding, dieting, and behaviors such as chronic dieting and bulimia; internalized homonegativity predicts chronic dieting and bulimia; and body image predicts enjoyment from shopping.

The findings have implications for identity and health-care. Therapeutic programs can use the results to better hone counseling sessions assisting gay men with self-hatred issues. Suggestions are made for safer-sex programs as well.

Future research projects on internalized homonegativity and body image are suggested.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Rudd, Nancy
School: The Ohio State University
Department: Textiles and Clothing
School Location: United States -- Ohio
Source: DAI-B 79/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Textile Research, LGBTQ studies
Keywords: Body image, Gay, Homosexual, Internalized homonegativity, Internalized homophobia, Risk
Publication Number: 10834925
ISBN: 978-0-355-94705-2
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