Ashley Strauss, Psy.D., is a 2016 graduate of the PsyD Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, Seattle.

Dissertation Committee:

  • Alejandra Suarez, Ph.D., Committee Chair
  • Michael Archer, Psy.D., Committee Member
  • Elizabeth Kunchandy, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Jude Bergkamp, Psy.D., Other (not pictured)


Add Health, block design ANOVA, Chi square, nationally representative sample, females, women, sexual orientation, sexual minority, homosexual, lesbian, BMI, body mass index, overweight, obesity, self-perceived body size, medically classified body size

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Rates of overweight and obesity have reached epidemic status in the United States and better understanding and treatment of obesity is vital to our success in ending this national trend. Current understanding of special populations informs us sexual minority women are at a higher risk of overweight and obesity. This study sets out to verify this using a nationally representative sample population in a fixed factor blocked ANOVA, controlling for common confounding variables shown to be strong influences of overweight and obesity. Next, the relationship between self-perceived body size and medically classified body size will be compared across sexual orientation to see if sexual minority women tend to under-assess their body size when compared with medical classification using a Chi-Square analysis. Some results were unexpected; sexual minority women are not significantly more overweight or obese than their heterosexual peers, but they do have a greater tendency to under-assess their body size according to medical standards. Furthering our understanding of the complexities of overweight and obesity will aide in the approaches taken by interdisciplinary healthcare providers in addressing this epidemic for sexual minority women and all other special population groups. This study serves to begin a thoughtful conversation about sexual minority women’s health but more research is needed to further this conversation.


Ashley Strauss, Psy.D., 2016.

ORCID Scholar #0000-0001-9704-7398