Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Dr. Catherine Walker


gay, twink, jock, bear, tribe, queer, LGBTQ, eating, eating disorder


Recent studies have focused on disordered eating psychopathology among gay men, particularly when oriented towards thinness or muscularity. Gay men are at increased risk of eating disorder symptoms when compared to heterosexual men and exhibit similar rates to women (Feldmen & Meyer, 2007; Frederick & Essayli, 2016; Siconolfi, Halkitis, Allomong, & Burton, 2009). However, the results remain muddled surrounding the topic of thinness- or muscularity-oriented eating psychopathology; the current study provides a potential response in subcultural gay appearance ideals. The present study examined the relationship between three gay subcultural appearance identities (twinks, jocks, and bears) and disordered eating attitudes and behaviors, such as dieting and muscularity-oriented eating. A total of 204 participants completed surveys assessing sexual orientation, gay subcultural identification, and eating psychopathology. Self-identified jocks reported significantly higher muscularity-oriented disordered eating than those who did not identify as jocks (t=2.90, p=.004). Participants who identified with a subcultural identity reported higher eating pathology than participants who did not (t=2.04,p=.043). Contrary to hypotheses, self-identified twinks did not report higher eating pathology than men who did not identify as twinks (t=-.23,p=.821). These results imply that gay subcultural identification may be a risk factor for disordered eating behaviors and attitudes among gay men. Furthermore, these findings may be especially relevant in clinical treatment of gay men who prescribe to such identities. Future research should explore specific types of behaviors are associated with gay subcultural identification, as well as mediations such as gay hookup applications and LGBTQ community involvement.