Minority stress, gender role strain, and visibility management : causes and concerns of body dissatisfaction among gay men
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Body dissatisfaction is a growing problem in the gay male population, with serious implications for psychological and social well-being. Gay men tend to be at higher risk of body dissatisfaction than their heterosexual counterparts. They report lower levels of body satisfaction and have higher rates of risky behaviors such as anabolic steroid use, eating disorders, and over-exercising (Gil, 2007; Willoughby et al., 2008; Kaminski et al., 2004). It is difficult to determine the cause of this issue in the gay community; however, two theories have been proposed to help explain this phenomenon. Minority stress theory posits that it relates to added stress involved with being part of a minority group. Gender role strain theory identifies these concerns with the strain to conform to masculine gender roles. A common link to bridge the two theories together may be visibility management, which is the way gay men carefully disclose behaviors that would identify their sexual orientation (Lasser & Tharinger, 2003). The proposed method will include participants that will be approximately 130 gay men 18-23 years of age. Participants will be sought through online collection from universities in the United States. Participants will respond to empirically validated measures in regards to Minority Stress, Gender Role Strain, Visibility Management, and Body Dissatisfaction to help determine if what links there are between these variables.