Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Can appearance conversations explain differences between gay and heterosexual men's body dissatisfaction?

Diedrichs, Phillippa C.; Jankowski, Glen S.; Jankowski, Glen; Diedrichs, Phillippa C; Halliwell, Emma


Phillippa C. Diedrichs

Glen S. Jankowski

Glen Jankowski

Emma Halliwell
Associate Professor in Psychology


Men's body dissatisfaction is prevalent and a serious health concern as it is associated with negative outcomes including depression, disordered eating, and anabolic steroid abuse. Gay men are particularly vulnerable to body dissatisfaction, perhaps due to heightened sociocultural appearance pressures experienced in gay subculture. Appearance conversations represent an underresearched, but potentially potent, mechanism of appearance pressures. The current study explored whether differences in the frequency of engaging in appearance conversations accounted for differences in body dissatisfaction and associated risk factors among gay and heterosexual men. A purposeful sample of gay (N = 77, Mage = 32.57) and heterosexual (N = 78, Mage = 25.30) men were recruited from community organizations in the United Kingdom. Participants completed an online questionnaire assessing appearance conversations, body dissatisfaction, appearance orientation, and internalization of appearance ideals. Gay men reported more frequent engagement in positive and negative appearance conversations and greater body dissatisfaction, appearance orientation, and general internalization than heterosexual men. Moreover, frequency of appearance conversations mediated the relationship between sexuality and the majority of study variables, including body dissatisfaction (ps


Diedrichs, P. C., Jankowski, G. S., Jankowski, G., Diedrichs, P. C., & Halliwell, E. (2014). Can appearance conversations explain differences between gay and heterosexual men's body dissatisfaction?. Psychology of Men and Masculinity, 15(1), 68-77.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2014
Journal Psychology of Men and Masculinity
Print ISSN 1524-9220
Publisher American Psychological Association
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 15
Issue 1
Pages 68-77
Keywords men, body image, peers, fat talk, sexual orientation, appearance
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : Online First Publication 4 March 2013.