The role of exposure to media-idealized male physiques on men's body image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Although numerous laboratory studies have tested sociocultural models of body image disturbance among females by experimentally exposing participants to mass media image of hyper-thin female models, few controlled studies have examined the possible effects of exposure to images of hyper-lean and muscular males on male body image. This study employed experimental methodology to assess effects of exposure to media portrayals of hyper-lean and muscular male images on body image in men (N = 110). Dependent variables included muscle satisfaction, body fat satisfaction, attitudes about anabolic steroid use, ideal fat-free mass, ideal waist-to-hip ratio, and chest-to-waist ratio self-estimates. Relative to a pre-test and control condition, viewing the mass media ‘ideal’ physiques resulted in significant decreases in muscle and body fat satisfaction, and in endorsement of body ideals higher in fat-free mass. Variables hypothesized to moderate effects included drive for muscularity, social comparison, pre-test body ideals, and sexual orientation. Moderator analyses yielded few significant effects, and the likelihood that these represent Type I errors is discussed.