NAVIGATION- Dr. Charles R. Davenport; Licensed Psychologist

Gender identity and sexual orientation related to eating disorder risk

A recent study released in the April 28 Journal of Adolescent Health looked at students from more than 200 US universities. this study explored potential connections between gender identity, sexual orientation, and risk for having an eating disorder. The study found that gay, bisexual, transgender, and non-transgender lesbian college students are at the highest risk for eating disorders.

 

gender identity and sexual orientation are both powerful aspects of who we see ourselves to be. Given that many of the labels of gender identity and sexual orientation discussed in this research have not always been widely accepted and popular culture individuals identifying themselves in this way are likely to find themselves, at worst living in the cross-hairs or at best with mild friction living in popular culture. when who we are is under attack we are likely to try to protect ourselves. One way we do this is by trying to have control over the parts of our selves which we are able. one of the ways human beings are powerfully able to affect their physical body, feelings, and thoughts is through regulation of food and body size. It is not a big surprise to this writer that people who have been “bruised” or even gently pushed on may be more susceptible to try to counter this force. Many times, as human beings, we reflexively will respond and as a result of having a sense of relief continue to do things in the same vein. This overtime can develop into an eating disorder or any number of problematic ways of regulating thoughts and feelings. Although Dr. Davenport does not particularly specialize in eating disorders he has had much success working with people who struggle as a result of the dynamics discussed above. Many times these same people also struggle with feelings related to their value, worth, and loveability.

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