The media's representation of the ideal male body: a cause for muscle dysmorphia?

Int J Eat Disord. 2002 Apr;31(3):334-8. doi: 10.1002/eat.10019.


Objective: This study sought to examine the effects of media images on men's attitudes toward their body appearance.

Method: A group of college men viewed advertisements showing muscular men, whereas a control group viewed neutral advertisements. Immediately thereafter, participants performed a computerized test of body image perception while unaware of the hypotheses being tested in the study.

Results: The students exposed to the muscular images showed a significantly greater discrepancy between their own perceived muscularity and the level of muscularity that they ideally wanted to have.

Discussion: These findings suggest that media images, even in a brief presentation, can affect men's views of their bodies.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Advertising
  • Body Image*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Media*
  • Men / psychology*
  • Mid-Atlantic Region