Mind over muscle? Sex differences in the relationship between body image change and subjective and objective physical changes following a 12-week strength-training program

Body Image. 2005 Dec;2(4):363-72. doi: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2005.08.003. Epub 2005 Nov 21.


This study examined sex differences in body image change and its correlates over the course of a 12-week strength-training program. Participants were 28 men and 16 women (M age=21.6, SD=2.4) who completed pre- and post-intervention measures of body image (Body Areas Satisfaction Scale, Social Physique Anxiety Scale, and Drive for Muscularity Scale) and subjective and objective assessments of body fat, muscularity, and strength. They participated in a 12-week, 5-day/week full-body progressive resistance training program. Significant body image improvements were found for both sexes (p<.05). Correlates of body image change varied somewhat between the sexes. For men, body image improvements were correlated only with subjective physical changes. For women, body image improvements were correlated with subjective physical changes as well as objective increases in strength. These results suggest that although men and women derive body image improvements from strength training, they may benefit for different reasons.