Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work

First Advisor

Rachel Casey, PhD, MSW

Second Advisor

Natalie Gentles-Gibbs, PhD, MSW

Third Advisor

Donna Wampole, DSW, LCSW


Social Work, Diet Culture, Communities, LGBTQIA+ Women


Diet culture is a pervasive aspect of the sociocultural environment characterized by contradictory messages about food and health, and a moral imperative to attain thinness (Jovanovski & Jaeger, 2022). Hallmarks of diet culture include body dissatisfaction, lowered self-esteem, and adverse mental and physical health outcomes (Calogero et al., 2018; Kinavey & Cool, 2019; Puhl et al., 2021). While research suggests that LGBTQIA+ community involvement may play a role in safeguarding positive body image (Dahlenburg et al., 2021; Hanley & McLaren, 2015), studies on body dissatisfaction among queer women have yielded mixed, often contradictory results. The purpose of this study was to explore and describe how queer women encounter diet culture messaging within LGBTQIA+ communities. It aimed to investigate how individuals within this group internalize or resist these messages by asking, how do queer women encounter and experience diet culture when interacting with the queer community? A phenomenological, qualitative study was conducted with 10 women from the LGBTQIA+ community. Results suggest that LGBTQIA+ women’s communities are somewhatinsulated from diet culture messaging, compared to mainstream society.

Included in

Social Work Commons