Montreal study: Who are the men and boys suffering from anorexia?
"It is clear from their study that males and females affected by anorexia share the same fear of gaining weight and "getting fat." Participants in the study presented clinically significant weight loss, with an average BMI of 16.1, placing them in a state of malnutrition. However, dissatisfaction with body image for males was more related to muscle mass, a motivation that can be associated with social norms of male beauty. "Moreover, excessive physical exercise is far ahead of rituals around food and vomiting in the list of strategies used to lose weight and the behaviours associated with anorexia nervosa," suggests Corbeil-Serre. Their review also suggests a common comorbidity in males with depression and substance abuse and the presence of antisocial, explosive, or psychotic personality traits.
The researchers also note that the rate of homosexuality among participants was much higher than in the general population. “We postulate that the importance of physical appearance in the gay community exacerbates the disorder once it is present and results in an overrepresentation of homosexual patients in treatment units. As well, anorexia nervosa may be a way to delay sexual issues for individuals with a conflictual or questioning homosexual orientation,” says Corbeil-Serre. Restrictive behaviour, finally, may be used to suppress male sexual characteristics in order to evade issues related to sexual maturity, which are a source of anxiety, or to approach models of female beauty. The researchers suggest, however, that because their hypotheses are not supported empirically, they must be submitted to further investigation.”
Complete document here (EurekAlert)