Research Topic

Sex and Gender Differences in Body Image

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Body image and, in particular, its disturbance have been shown to be relevant factors for general well-being and the development of various mental disorders, such as eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorder (including muscle dysmorphia). Body image is conceptualized as a multidimensional construct. It ...

Body image and, in particular, its disturbance have been shown to be relevant factors for general well-being and the development of various mental disorders, such as eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorder (including muscle dysmorphia). Body image is conceptualized as a multidimensional construct. It incorporates a) a perceptual component (i.e., how one’s body is mentally represented), b) a cognitive component (i.e., attitudes regarding one’s body and the processing of body-related information), c) an affective component (i.e., body-related emotions such as pride or disgust), and d) a behavioral component (i.e., how individuals try to alter their body, and how repeatedly they check or avoid their body or its parts).

To date, empirical studies of body image and its disturbance have mainly focused on girls and women in community-based or clinical samples, and there are only a few studies in which females and males of various age groups have been directly compared. Furthermore, various gender identifications and diverse sexual orientations have largely been neglected in body image research. This Research Topic therefore aims to collect a broad range of original papers that utilise experimental paradigms, observational studies and intervention research to investigate and compare samples which focus on gender, gender identification, and sexual orientation derived from community-based and clinical populations. Our specific focus is the perceptual, cognitive, affective, and behavioral components of body image and we will adopt a biopsychosocial approach to gender, gender identification, sexual orientation and body image.

Based on the findings from these original papers, this Research Topic aims to provide important insights into the impact of gender, gender identification, and sexual orientation on the development and maintenance of positive body image and body image disturbance and its clinical manifestations, such as eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorder. This will yield information regarding the need to target specific populations for intervention that may have thus far been neglected, as well as alterations that may need to be made to existing prevention and treatment programs, based on gender, gender identification, and sexual orientation.


Keywords: Gender, Sex, Body Image, Eating Disorders, Body Dysmorphic Disorder


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