An exploration of the drive for muscularity in adolescent boys and girls

J Am Coll Health. 2000 May;48(6):297-304. doi: 10.1080/07448480009596271.


Much of the existing research on disordered eating has centered on the drive for thinness, which is most commonly observed in girls and women. The male standard of bodily attractiveness, however, is bigger, bulkier, and more muscular. Are boys and men motivated to be big and muscular in the same way that girls and women are motivated to be thin? The authors constructed a 15-item survey and administered it to 197 adolescents. The findings showed that the drive for muscularity measure displayed good reliability; that individuals high in the drive were more likely to be boys who were trying to gain both weight and muscle mass; that the drive was related to poor self-esteem and higher levels of depression among boys, but not among girls; and that the drive for muscularity was relatively unrelated to the drive for thinness.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Adult
  • Body Image*
  • Canada
  • Drive
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Self Concept*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Weight Lifting