Weight and shape control behaviors among young transgender women: Findings from Project Body Talk
Methods: Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with 21 participants (ages 18-31 years; mean annual income<$10,000; ethnic identity: Multiracial [n=8], Black [n=4], Latina [n=4], White [n=4], Asian [n=1]). Interviews were transcribed and double-coded using a template organizing method, guided by ecosocial theory and a gender affirmation model.
Results: Study participants described using a variety of strategies to address body image concerns. Of 21 participants, 16 reported engaging in past-year disordered eating or weight and shape control behaviors, including binge eating, fasting, vomiting, and laxative use. Participants described a social context with gender-related and other discriminatory experiences, which shaped participants’ access to social and material resources as well as stress and coping behaviors. Several participants discussed the interaction of social and biological processes, particularly in relation to gender-affirming cross-sex hormone use and its role in both body satisfaction and weight gain concerns. Individual and community-level resiliencies related to the development of positive body image included peer and family networks and receipt of gender-affirming healthcare.
Conclusion: This formative study provides insight into disordered eating and weight and shape control behaviors among at-risk transgender women, illuminating avenues for research, treatment, and public health interventions to enhance resilience factors.
Learning Areas:Diversity and culture
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences
Describe two potential pathways via which young transgender women may be at risk of eating disorders. Discuss a gender affirmation model and its potential application to understanding and contextualizing disordered eating behaviors in young transgender women.
Keyword(s): Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT), Nutrition
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was the co-Investigator for this study and had primary responsibility for the study's design, implementation, and analysis.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.