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Arch Sex Behav. 2009 Jun;38(3):364-77. doi: 10.1007/s10508-008-9424-z. Epub 2008 Nov 22.

Eating and body image disturbances in male-to-female and female-to-male transsexuals.

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Department of Psychology, Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Ruhr-University Bochum, Universitätsstrasse 150, Bochum, Germany.


The aim of the study was to discover whether persons with Gender Identity Disorder (GID) differed from controls of both sexes and from persons with eating disorders in terms of the degree of eating and body image disturbance, self-esteem, and depression. A total of 88 self-identified male-to-female transsexuals (MtF), 43 female-to-male transsexuals (FtM), 62 females with an eating disorder, 56 male controls, and 116 female controls completed the Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire, Eating Disorder Inventory, Body Checking Questionnaire, Drive for Muscularity Scale, Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, and Beck Depression Inventory. MtF showed higher scores on restrained eating, eating concerns, weight concerns, shape concerns, drive for thinness, bulimia, body dissatisfaction, and body checking compared to male controls, and concerning some variables also compared to female controls. FtM displayed a higher degree of restrained eating, weight concerns, shape concerns, body dissatisfaction, and body checking compared to male controls. Furthermore, participants with GID showed higher depression scores than did controls, whereas no differences concerning drive for muscularity and self-esteem were found. Between MtF and FtM, the only significant difference emerged for body checking, with MtF displaying higher scores. Although it was shown that on these variables the values for persons with GID were lower than for those with eating disorders, these data lead us to speculate that persons with GID might be at a higher risk of eating disturbances. Therefore, the implementation of prevention programs might help persons with GID to avoid developing a clinically relevant eating disorder.

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