Sociocultural factors affecting drive for muscularity among male college students in Malaysia

Heliyon. 2020 Jul 22;6(7):e04414. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2020.e04414. eCollection 2020 Jul.


Compared with females, little research on muscularity and the sociocultural influences on this domain has been conducted with males in non-Western societies. The current study explored these sociocultural predictors of drive for muscularity among Malaysian male college students, specifically in terms of ethnicity and exposure to media (i.e., Internet and social media). In total, 166 male college students from two universities in Kuala Lumpur were asked to rate the questionnaires as to muscularity-oriented attitudes and behaviours. Multivariable general linear model analyses revealed that being Chinese was a strong predictor of muscularity-oriented attitudes and behaviours. In addition, modern media, particularly, Internet use and the number of followers on Instagram, was found to significantly predict males' drive for muscularity. Overall findings suggest that males of particular ethnic groups may be at higher risk for negative body image compared to the other ethnic populations and modern media use may accelerate drive for muscularity, which may also in turn place males at higher risk for excess muscularity-oriented thoughts and behaviours.

Keywords: Body image; Ethnicity; Malaysia; Muscularity; Psychology; Social media.