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Nontraditional sex role aspirations, gender identity conflict, and disordered eating among college women

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Many studies point directly to the role played by sex roles and indirectly to the role played by gender identity in the onset of disordered eating. In this study, women who report adhering to nontraditional sex role aspirations are almost twice as likely as other women to report purging or frequent bingeing. Women who exhibit gender identity conflict by drawing a male or androgynous figure on the Draw-A-Person Test or by reporting a pattern of wishing they had been born a male are more likely than other women to report purging or frequent bingeing. The results are consonant with a hypothesis regarding the etiology of disordered eating that implicates gender identity conflicts among women, particularly women who exhibit nontraditional sex role aspirations.

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Correspondence to Brett Silverstein.

Additional information

We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Christie Norman, Kristen Murray, Linda Bennet, Jim Kelliher, and Harold Bates in the data collection, and of two anonymous reviewers for comments on a draft of this article.

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Silverstein, B., Carpman, S., Perlick, D. et al. Nontraditional sex role aspirations, gender identity conflict, and disordered eating among college women. Sex Roles 23, 687–695 (1990). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00289256

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  • Social Psychology
  • Gender Identity
  • College Woman
  • Identity Conflict
  • Frequent Binge