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Men who are sexually harassed more likely to have eating disorders

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A new study from Michigan State University shows that men who experience high levels of sexual harassment are more likely than women to engage in purging behaviors like vomiting or taking laxatives.

As one of the first studies to assess how sexual harassment affects body image and behaviors in both women and men, the findings suggest that while women may experience more sexual harassment, men tend to exhibit more reactionary behaviors as far as disordered eating goes.

"When men experience these kinds of behaviors and find them distressing, then you see the same types of responses you see in women – and in the case of compensatory behaviors, even more so," lead author Nicole Buchanan said in a press release.

Treatment and prevention programs geared toward young women

Buchanan and her team surveyed 2,446 college students, 731 of whom were men, about their experiences with sexual harassment, body image and eating habits. Sexual harassment has been linked to anxiety, depression and even suicide. And while eating disorders in men are on the rise, most treatment or prevention programs are targeted toward young women, the study noted.

"Although boys and men have lower rates of weight/shape concerns and eating disturbances, these issues are still significant and warrant intervention," Buchanan said.

The study will appear in the upcoming print issue of the journal Body Image.

Source: Science Daily