Men reporting sexual harassment have more eating disorders

 
By Sheryl Kay • Published: August 9th, 2013
Category: Health in a Heartbeat
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As if experiencing sexual harassment is not enough, for male victims the consequences are multiplied exponentially. Rarely are such claims believed, and often the male victim is portrayed as less virile, leaving those who have bore the brunt of such attacks to suffer even further.

Now, in one of the first studies to examine the effects of sexual harassment on body image and eating behaviors in both women and men, findings show men may truly suffer even more than their female counterparts.

Appearing in the journal Body Image, the investigation began by surveying almost twenty-five hundred college-aged adults, including 731 men, regarding their experiences with sexual harassment, body image and eating behaviors. As expected, the women in the study reported more sexual harassment and greater overall weight and eating disorder behaviors in response to that harassment.

But the researchers were completely baffled to dicover that men are considerably more likely than women to engage in purging and other dangerous eating disorder behaviors when they report experiencing high levels of sexual harassment. The study is the first to reach that conclusion.

The investigators stated that based on their findings, while boys and men are usually less concerned about weight and suffer fewer eating disorders than women do, these issues are still noteworthy and merit preemptive measures. This may be problematic because most eating disorder programs are designed for female patients. The researchers suggest heightening awareness about the sexual harassment of men in the workplace and revamping programs for eating disorders to accommodate and take into account the needs of male patients.

After all, in the words of R.E.M, everybody hurts sometimes.