The role of peer victimization, sexual identity, and gender on unhealthy weight control behaviors in a representative sample of Texas youth

Jessica Pistella, Salvatore Ioverno, Stephen T Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Objective: The aim of the study is to examine the association between victimization and unhealthy weight control behaviors (UWCB), accounting for other key correlates of UWCB while considering the moderating role of sexual identity and gender. Method: This study used data from the 2017 Texas Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), a representative sample of students in grades 9–12 in the U.S. state of Texas, including 2,067 students (1,754 heterosexuals and 313 sexual minorities). We used survey-weighted logistic regression to examine the association of sexual identity, gender, and victimization (dating violence, cyberbullying, and school bullying) with UWCB, after adjusting for demographic information and indicators of weight, physical activity, and support from adults. Results: Unhealthy weight control behaviors were associated with older age, being obese, lack of support from adults, low physical activity, and cyberbullying. A significant three-way interaction between gender, sexual identity and bullying showed that bullying was associated with high levels of UWCB among sexual minority males. Discussion: Our study highlights the role of victimization in health behaviors for stigmatized groups, and the importance of school efforts to implement an equitable and safe learning environment for all students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019
Externally publishedYes



  • adults' support
  • obesity
  • physical activity
  • sexual minorities
  • unhealthy weight control behaviors
  • victimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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