A comparison of eating, exercise, shape, and weight related symptomatology in males with muscle dysmorphia and anorexia nervosa

Body Image. 2012 Mar;9(2):193-200. doi: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2012.01.008. Epub 2012 Mar 4.


In the context of the lack of nosological clarity surrounding muscle dysmorphia, this paper aims to compare the symptomatic profile of muscle dysmorphia and anorexia nervosa in males whilst using measures sensitive to indexing male body image concerns. Twenty-one male muscle dysmorphia patients, 24 male anorexia nervosa patients, and 15 male gym-using controls completed the Eating Disorder Examination-Questionnaire, the Muscle Dysmorphia Disorder Inventory, the Compulsive Exercise Test, and a measure of appearance-enhancing substance use. Men with muscle dysmorphia and anorexia nervosa demonstrated widespread symptomatic similarities spanning the domains of disturbed body image, disordered eating, and exercise behaviour, whilst differences were consistent with the opposing physiques pursued in each condition. Furthermore, correlational analyses revealed significant associations between scores on muscle dysmorphia and eating disorder measures. The present findings provide moderate support for the notion that muscle dysmorphia may be nosologically similar to anorexia nervosa.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anorexia Nervosa / complications
  • Anorexia Nervosa / psychology*
  • Australia
  • Body Composition
  • Body Dysmorphic Disorders / complications
  • Body Dysmorphic Disorders / psychology*
  • Body Image
  • Body Weight*
  • Compulsive Behavior / complications
  • Compulsive Behavior / psychology
  • Eating*
  • Exercise / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength
  • Muscle, Skeletal*
  • Singapore
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Weight Lifting / psychology