Studies that have used mostly self-reported height have found that men with a same-sex
orientation and women with an other-sex orientation are shorter, on average, than men
with an other-sex orientation and women with a same-sex orientation, respectively. This
thesis examined whether an objective height difference exists or whether a psychosocial
account (e.g., distortion of self-reports) may explain these putative height differences.
Also, this thesis examined whether certain individual differences (e.g, gender roles and
socially desirable responding) predict height distortion. Eight hundred and thirteen
participants, recruited at Brock University, the Niagara Community and through
surrounding LGBT events, completed self-reported height, measures of gender roles and
socially desirable responding, and had their height measured. Using hierarchical linear
regressions, it was found that Same-Sex/Both-Sex Oriented men were shorter, on
average, than predominantly Other-Sex Oriented men; however, there was no difference
in objective height between Same-Sex/Both-Sex Oriented women and predominantly
Other-Sex Oriented women. These findings contribute to existing biological theories of
men's sexual orientation development and do not contribute to biological theories of
women's sexual orientation development. Height distortion was not related to sexual
orientation and only marginally related to sex. Predictors of height distortion were
Impression Management, in both men and women, and Unmitigated Agency, in men.
These findings highlight the complexity of sexual orientation development in men and
women. These findings also highlight the role of certain psychosocial factors in how
people perceive their bodies and/or how they want their bodies to be perceived by others.
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