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Body Image. 2004 May;1(2):127-38.

Does body satisfaction differ between gay men and lesbian women and heterosexual men and women? A meta-analytic review.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, 9 Campus Drive, Saskatchewan, Canada S7N 5A5.


Studies investigating body image satisfaction among groups of different sexual orientations (i.e., gay men, lesbian women, and heterosexual men and women) have produced equivocal findings. To synthesise the available research, 27 studies (20 published and 7 unpublished) were meta-analysed (N=5220). Comparisons between heterosexual (n=1397) and gay men (n=984) produced a small effect size, with the former being slightly more satisfied with their bodies. An even smaller difference was observed for studies comparing heterosexual (n=1391) and lesbian women (n=1448), with greater levels of body satisfaction being evidenced by the latter group. Tests of homogeneity for each effect size were found to be highly significant. In an attempt to identify variables that may be responsible for the observed heterogeneity, the following categorical factors were assessed: the measures used to evaluate body satisfaction, date of study (1980s versus 1990s+), publication status (published or unpublished), and body weight. The results of this exploratory search for potential moderator variables as well as limitations of the current meta-analysis are discussed.


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