-- Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, March 28 (HealthDay News) -- Men obsessed with
muscle-building lean toward traditional ideas of masculinity, while
men fixated on being thin likely associate with more feminine
stereotypes, according to new research.
Guys consumed by the idea that they are not muscular enough have
a disorder called muscle dysmorphia, popularly known as
It had been believed that sexuality was one of the main factors
behind muscle dysmorphia in men, but this study suggests that how
men view themselves is more important, according to the Australian
researchers, whose study results are published in the March 27
issue of the
Journal of Eating Disorders.
The researchers had a group of men complete a questionnaire
designed to find out how they viewed themselves in comparison to
common stereotypes of masculine thoughts and behaviors.
Men with a strong desire for being muscular had a greater
preference for traditional masculinity, while those with a high
drive for thinness (as in anorexia nervosa) leaned more toward
feminine roles, the study found.
"This does not mean that that the men with anorexia were any less masculine, nor that the men with muscle dysmorphia were less feminine than the control subjects we recruited," study leader Stuart Murray, a clinical psychologist, said in a journal news release. "It is, however, an indication of the increasing pressures men are under to define their masculinity in the modern world."
He and his colleagues noted that research over the past several
decades has shown that a growing number of men say they are unhappy
with their body image. This may show itself in either a desire to
lose weight and become thinner or to gain weight and build
This can lead to problems if a person abuses steroids or adopts
unhealthy eating habits, or if the compulsion to exercise
overwhelms normal life and leads to loss of sleep, reduced quality
of life or even an inability to hold a normal job, the researchers
The National Eating Disorders Association has more about
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