Attachment and disordered eating: a cross-sectional study of young Lebanese adults encompassing gender and sexual orientation differences
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American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon
Publication date: 2023-04-27
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A1399
At present, research indicates that insecure attachment is linked with disordered eating. However, there is no consensus on the potential differences in attachment and disordered eating considering people with conforming and non-conforming gender and sexual orientation. This study aimed to assess the differences among people of different genders and sexual orientations in attachment and disordered eating. In this study, 103 young Lebanese adults aged between 18 and 25 were recruited online and took the Experiences in Close Relationships Scale – Short Form (ECR-S) and Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26). Conclusively, participants were grouped as either cis-heterosexual (n=62; 59%) or LGBTQ+ (n=41; 39%). Attachment anxiety was more prominent among persons who identify as LGBTQIA+ than cis-heterosexuals (U = 2.35, p = .019). Although there were no differences in levels of disordered eating between the two groups, disordered eating was positively correlated with attachment avoidance in cis-heterosexuals (rs = .27, p = .021) and with attachment anxiety in LGBTQIA+ individuals (rs = .38, p = .008). Women had significantly higher levels of disordered eating than men in the cis-heterosexual group (U = 238.5, p = .023), while this relationship was absent within the LGBTQIA+ group. The findings suggest the possibility of different expressions of attachment and mechanisms for disordered eating based on gender and sexuality. This study may drive future research to understand the expression of eating disorders considering the individual’s underlying attachment, gender, and sexuality.
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