Purpose of review: There is growing recognition that eating disorder (ED) symptoms, particularly those of a muscularity-oriented nature, are more common in men than previously understood. The purpose of the current review is to describe contemporary directions and implications of research on traditional and muscularity-oriented ED symptoms among males.
Recent findings: Evidence indicates that ED symptoms occur in a substantial minority of men. Importantly, recent research has focused on muscularity-oriented body image and disordered eating in males, demonstrating the prevalence, correlates, and consequences of maladaptive muscularity-oriented attitudes and behaviors. A growing number of assessments are available to measure these constructs in males, and preliminary treatment considerations have begun to be addressed in the literature. Research on male EDs and body image is increasingly focusing on muscularity-oriented manifestations. Continued empirical work will be critical to improve our understanding of the onset, maintenance, and treatment of muscularity-oriented disordered eating in males.
Objective: Body dissatisfaction is intricately linked to the development of disordered eating. However, as male body dissatisfaction appears more oriented toward muscularity, versus thinness per se, existing measures of eating disorder psychopathology may lack sensitivity in capturing disordered eating that is muscularity-focused. The aim of the present study was to develop a specific measure of muscularity-oriented disordered eating-the muscularity-oriented eating test (MOET).
Discussion: The MOET represents a psychometrically sound, novel measure of muscularity-oriented disordered eating. Future research should examine its utility in clinical samples and research into muscularity-oriented disordered eating.
The drive for muscularity behaviors are very common in male athletes, especially in male bodybuilders. Studies have related drive for muscularity behaviors to body dissatisfaction, eating disorders and muscle dysmorphia.
The motivational mechanisms explaining the development of drive for muscularity behaviors might be better understood through complementary analyses of motivational profiles. Such investigations would guide the design of programs to lower the risks associated with these behaviors.
The strengths of the study include the application of the trans-contextual model of motivation to the drive for muscularity behaviors of male bodybuilders at risk of developing muscle dysmorphia. In this model, motivations for sport influence drive for muscularity behaviors through the mediating roles of attitude to gain muscle mass, perceived behavioral control related to gain muscle mass, and intention to gain muscle mass. The findings were that both autonomous and controlled motivations for sport were associated with drive for muscularity behaviors through direct and indirect pathways. Complementary analyses of motivational profiles would provide more in-depth insight into the motivational mechanisms underlying drive for muscularity behaviors. These investigations would help to develop programs to reduce the risks associated with these behaviors.
Athletes practicing bodybuilding display drive for muscularity behaviors (DM) and are at risk of developing deviant behaviors that can impair health , a notable example being the development of eating disorders . Although several psychological factors have been shown to be related to DM, few studies have been based on recent socio-cognitive theories. The purpose of this study was to gain deeper insight into the psychological mechanisms underlying DM in male bodybuilders from the perspective of the trans-contextual model of motivation (TCM) of Hagger and Chatzisarantis (2009) .
A growing body of literature has examined various applications of the trans-contextual model to healthy behaviors such as healthy eating , and physical activity [3, 36, 37], or to unhealthy behaviors like doping . As DM is a risk factor for developing deviant behaviors, autonomous motivation, which is known to be negatively related to eating disorders and doping use could also be expected to be negatively related to DM . However, people who strive for muscularity might be quite intrinsically motivated toward this goal. Applying the TCM to the context of DM in male bodybuilders might provide deeper insight into the psychological mechanisms underlying the risk of developing deviant behaviors in this population. Furthermore, the findings of this study would add to the literature by contributing evidence of the generalizability of the model to multiple health behavior domains.
Robert, CA, Munroe-Chandler, KJ, and Gammage, KL. The relationship between the drive for muscularity and muscle dysmorphia in male and female weight trainers. J Strength Cond Res 23(6): 1656-1662, 2009-Muscle dysmorphia is a form of body dysmorphic disorder in which individuals have a pathological preoccupation with their muscularity and, more specifically, an extreme fear that their bodies are too small. Relatively few empirical studies have been completed on muscle dysmorphia, and even fewer studies on the relationship between the drive for muscularity and muscle dysmorphia in men and women. The purpose of this research was to examine the relationship between the drive for muscularity and muscle dysmorphia in male (n = 55) and female (n = 59) recreational weight trainers. Results revealed that the behavior and diet subscales of the drive for muscularity significantly predicted muscle dysmorphia in males and females accounting for 69% and 46% of the total variance, respectively. Although the overall scores of muscle dysmorphia do not indicate clinical levels, these findings suggest that behaviors such as arranging one's schedule around his/her training regimen and dieting in order to gain muscle predict characteristics of muscle dysmorphia in men and women.
Media also often over-represent idealised, muscular male bodies [19, 20] just as they do slim female bodies. It is therefore likely that frequent exposure could shift perceptions of normality and preferences towards male muscularity. To date, one study has observed experimental visual adaptation to muscularity in the laboratory .
We ran two further manipulation conditions (Study 2), to explore whether associative learning effects could be observed in a situation in which visual diet effects would be impossible to observe. Study 2 involved participants viewing either a combination of aspirational high muscle mass male bodies together with neutral low muscle mass male bodies (Condition 5), or, viewing a combination of aspirational low muscle mass male bodies together with neutral high muscle mass bodies (Condition 6). Specifically, we are testing the hypothesis that preferences for muscularity are likely to shift in the direction of the high valence image type, whether it be high or low muscle mass.
Following the manipulation phase, participants were told that they needed to complete the second half of the preference task. This involved completing the same preference task as was required during the pre-manipulation preference for muscularity task.
When gender or DMS score was added to the model, results did not change; there was still a significant interaction between phase and muscularity and there was no higher order interaction with either gender nor DMS (see Table 3 below).
Study 1 aimed to explore the mechanisms underpinning changes in preferences for muscularity across a Western sample. Four manipulation conditions were created to assess the extent to which visual diet or associative learning mechanisms best explained such changes in body preferences. Overall, the findings provide evidence for the visual diet hypothesis for low muscle mass images in particular.
Study 1 shows good support for the effects of visual diet for low muscle mass images, but associative learning may still take place in circumstances where visual diet is not in effect . With this in mind, we conducted a second study in which visual diet effects were impossible, yet associative learning effects could still arise. Specifically, Study 2 explored whether exposure to an equal number of aspirational high muscle mass and neutral low muscle mass images (Condition 5) decreased or increased preferences for muscularity, and, whether exposure to an equal number of aspirational low muscle mass and neutral high muscle mass images (Condition 6) decreased or increased preferences for muscularity.
A mixed ANOVA with test phase (pre- versus post-manipulation) as a repeated measures variable and condition (Condition 5 versus Condition 6) as the between-participant factor showed a significant interaction between test phase and condition (F1,82 = 8.690, p < .005, partial eta2 = .096) such that Condition 6 manipulation stimuli (aspirational non muscular and neutral muscular images) decreased preferences for muscularity to a greater extent than the Condition 5 manipulation stimuli (made up of aspirational muscular and neutral non-muscular images). Mean post-manipulation changes in muscularity preference for each of the two conditions are presented in Fig 3 and the tabulated values for the mixed ANOVA are shown in Table 6. A post-hoc paired-samples t-test revealed a significant difference between mean pre- and post-manipulation muscularity preference scores for condition 6 (t(39) = 4.621, p = < .000), but not for condition 5 (t(43) = .618, p = .540).
Further analyses also revealed a three-way interaction between phase (pre-versus post-manipulation preference score), condition and gender (F1,80 = 4.204, p < .045, partial eta2 = .050) as shown in Table 7. Gender differences in muscularity preference score, pre- and post-manipulation for both conditions are shown Fig 4.
When male and female data were split and analysed separately the mixed ANOVA analysis for females showed no significant interaction between test phase and condition (F1,51 = 1.000, p = .322, partial eta2 = .019). However, the analysis for male data did show a significant interaction between phase and condition (F1,29 = 11.799, p < .003, partial eta2 = .289). Paired-sample t-tests revealed a significant difference between mean pre- and post-manipulation muscularity preference scores for condition 6 (t(11) = 2.916, p = .014) but not condition 5 (t(18) = 1.570, p = .134). 2b1af7f3a8