Who's the ‘bigger’ man? Parsing the relationships between masculinity and men's muscularity dissatisfaction

Mitchell L. Cunningham*, Jason M. Nagata, David Frederick, Rachel F. Rodgers, Jason M. Lavender, Marianna Szabo, Stuart B. Murray

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Muscularity dissatisfaction is documented to be a pervasive phenomenon among men. While previous studies have examined theoretically relevant predictors of muscularity dissatisfaction, such as adherence to traditional masculine norms, to the best of our knowledge we are not aware of empirical research that has assessed how perceived discrepancies in one's level of masculinity may also be associated with these concerns. Therefore, the objective of this study was to determine whether perceived deficits in masculinity bear predictive utility over and above adherence to traditional masculine norms in the context of muscularity dissatisfaction. An online survey that included measures assessing the aforementioned constructs was completed by 390 university and community adult men. A hierarchical regression analysis showed that while adherence to masculine norms was associated with increased muscularity dissatisfaction, masculine role discrepancy (and attendant stress) were particularly strong predictors of muscularity dissatisfaction. Our findings make a novel contribution to the male body image literature by demonstrating the relative importance of perceived discrepancies in masculinity, and related stress, in the context of muscularity dissatisfaction. Pending replication in relevant clinical samples using prospective designs, this study provides preliminary evidence that masculine role discrepancies may be promising targets to help allay muscularity concerns among men.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-100
Number of pages7
JournalBody Image
Volume34
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Drive for muscularity
  • Male body image
  • Masculine gender role discrepancy
  • Masculinity
  • Muscularity dissatisfaction

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