A psychology PhD student at the University of the West of
England is researching lesbian experiences of anorexia and bulimia
- and how these compare to the experiences of heterosexual
The research involves in-depth interviews with self-identified
lesbian women who are experiencing anorexia and/or bulimia.
The new research project has been set up to better understand
lesbian perspectives on eating disorders.
Researcher Rebecca Jones said, "This new research will build on
the pilot study I did at UWE Bristol as an undergraduate, which has
just been published by the online journal Psychology and
"My motivations stem from having past experience of an eating
disorder and self-identifying as a lesbian. When I started
University I became interested in lesbians' eating disordered
experiences from a research perspective which prompted me to
explore the literature further in my undergraduate research
According to Jones, there is now a considerable body of research
exploring how our culture's norms and ideas about gender impact
upon girls' and women's experiences of anorexia and bulimia and
heterosexual girls' and women's experiences of anorexia and
"However," she says, "much less is known about lesbian
experiences of anorexia and bulimia."
Adding: "Our analysis suggests that the processes of coming to
recognise oneself as a lesbian and of coming out to others in a
predominantly heterosexual society may have a profound impact upon
how lesbians experience anorexia and bulimia."
Jones hopes that her research will make health care
professionals aware of differences due to sexual orientation when
treating women with eating disorders.
The research team is looking for between 15 and 20 women to take
part in the study. If interested, email: PressOffice@uwe.ac.uk.