Examining sexual racism and body dissatisfaction among men of color who have sex with men: The moderating role of body image inflexibility

Yash Bhambhani, Maureen K. Flynn, Karen Kate Kellum, Kelly G. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Body image research with men who have sex with men (MSM) has largely focused on White MSM. The current study aimed to investigate whether men of color who have sex with men (MCSM) report similar levels of body dissatisfaction as White MSM. We also studied whether (a) the experience of sexual racism, a unique stressor for MCSM, is related to body dissatisfaction and (b) body image inflexibility moderates the relationship between sexual racism and muscularity-oriented behaviors. White MSM and MCSM (total N = 887) recruited through Amazon Mechanical Turk completed questionnaires assessing body dissatisfaction, body image flexibility, and experienced sexual racism on Qualtrics. We found that MCSM report more engagement in behaviors aimed at changing their bodies than White MSM. Additionally, experiencing sexual racism was related to higher body dissatisfaction and body image inflexibility in MCSM. In addition, body image inflexibility moderated by strengthening the association between experiencing sexual racism and muscularity-oriented behaviors. The present study highlights the need for further research with this understudied population, including intervention studies on mitigating the impact of experiencing sexual racism by increasing psychological and body image flexibility and studies aimed at reducing the incidence of sexual racism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)142-148
Number of pages7
JournalBody Image
Volume28
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Body image
  • Body image flexibility
  • Gay
  • Men of color
  • Sexual racism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychology(all)

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