ArticlePDF Available

Abstract and Figures

Much body image research has been directed toward the study of males (H. G. Pope, K. A. Phillips, & R. Olivardia, 2000). However, little attention has been devoted to consideration of which methods yield the most accurate measurement of this population. Based on numerous social psychological studies indicating the salience of a muscular appearance (e.g., H. G. Pope, R. Olivardia, A. Gruber, & J. Borowiecki, 1999), 3 guidelines were derived for assessing male body image. Existing methods of male body image assessment were evaluated based on their adherence to these guidelines and avoidance of methodological shortcomings. The most effective measures of male body image were the Drive for Muscularity Scale (D. R. McCreary & D. K. Sasse, 2000), somatomorphic matrix (A. J. Gruber, H. G. Pope, J. Borowiecki, & G. Cohane, 1999), and a modification to the somatomorphic matrix introduced here. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Content may be subject to copyright.
Measuring Male Body Image: A Review of the
Current Methodology
Guy Cafri and J. Kevin Thompson
University of South Florida
Much body image research has been directed toward the study of males (H. G. Pope, K. A.
Phillips, & R. Olivardia, 2000). However, little attention has been devoted to consideration of
which methods yield the most accurate measurement of this population. Based on numerous
social psychological studies indicating the salience of a muscular appearance (e.g., H. G. Pope,
R. Olivardia, A. Gruber, & J. Borowiecki, 1999), 3 guidelines were derived for assessing male
body image. Existing methods of male body image assessment were evaluated based on their
adherence to these guidelines and avoidance of methodological shortcomings. The most effective
measures of male body image were the Drive for Muscularity Scale (D. R. McCreary & D. K.
Sasse, 2000), somatomorphic matrix (A. J. Gruber, H. G. Pope, J. Borowiecki, & G. Cohane,
1999), and a modification to the somatomorphic matrix introduced here.
A thin appearance has historically been the focus
of body image research because of its central role in
the development of eating disorders and the body
image orientation of non-eating-disordered females
(Thompson, Heinberg, Altabe, & Tantleff-Dunn,
1999). The exact nature of male body image concerns
appears to have been neglected by the paradigm of
research emphasizing thinness because males are
more concerned with a muscular appearance (Mc-
Creary & Sasse, 2000). A lack of past attentiveness to
male body image issues is one reason why assess-
ment of muscularity has become a topic of interest.
Another more pragmatic reason is the noticeable in-
crease in valuation of the muscular male body in the
visual media of Western cultures (Pope, Phillips, &
Olivardia, 2000). Arguably, this media influence has
caused a rise in the number of males experiencing
muscle dissatisfaction (Leit, Gray, & Pope, 2002;
Garner, 1997) and, in turn, an increased incidence of
clinically significant body image disturbance (viz.,
muscle dysmorphia; Pope, Gruber, Choi, Olivardia,
& Phillips, 1997). Given these concerns, it is impera-
tive to determine which methods are appropriate in
assessing how males perceive, think, and behave with
respect to their bodies. Our intent is to provide a
theoretical review of male body image research that
will propose an acceptable standard of assessing a
muscular appearance.
The arguments in this review hinge on the assump-
tion that the concept of muscularity is an essential
feature of how males think about their bodies. Al-
though few would refute the centrality of muscularity
concerns for males, a brief consideration of research
on the cultural antecedents of male body image will
augment the significance of the claims made hereaf-
ter. A considerable amount of research conducted
primarily by Lerner and colleagues in the 1960s and
1970s supports the notion that a muscular appearance
is idealized. In these studies, a muscular male body
type is overwhelmingly assigned personality traits
with positive connotations (e.g., attractive, strong,
happy), whereas skinny and obese body types are
ascribed personality traits with negative connotations
(e.g., lazy, cheats, sneaky). The prevalence of these
body type stereotypes were found irrespective of par-
ticipant: class (Wells & Siegel, 1961), race, sex (e.g.,
Kirkpatrick & Sanders, 1978), body build (Lerner &
Korn, 1972), weight (Dibiase & Hejelle, 1968), age
(Kirkpatrick & Sanders, 1978; Lerner & Korn, 1972),
and nationality (e.g., Iwawaki & Lerner, 1976; Ler-
ner & Pool, 1972). A muscular body type was also
found to be the figure that males most desired to have
(e.g., Dibiase & Hejelle, 1968; Lerner & Korn, 1972;
Tucker, 1982). Moreover, Guy, Rankin, and Norvell
(1980) found that such a body type was overwhelm-
ingly sex-typed masculine. Taken together, these
findings strongly suggest that the ideal body type is a
muscular one. In fact, Kearney-Cooke and Steichen-
Asch (1990) found that when nonclinical males were
asked about the ideal shape for their sex, the most
common response was “muscular, strong and broad
shouldered” (p. 58).
Although a muscular body has been idealized for a
Guy Cafri and J. Kevin Thompson, Department of Psy-
chology, University of South Florida.
Correspondence concerning this article should be ad-
dressed to J. Kevin Thompson, Department of Psychology,
University of South Florida, Tampa, FL 33620-8200.
Psychology of Men & Masculinity Copyright 2004 by the Educational Publishing Foundation
2004, Vol. 5, No. 1, 18–29 1524-9220/04/$12.00 DOI: 10.1037/1524-9220.5.1.18
number of years, the importance of attaining this
ideal has become stronger. This is reflected in part
through an increase in the degree of muscularity of
male bodies displayed in the media. Pope, Olivardia,
Gruber, and Borowiecki (1999) assessed the phy-
siques of male action toys and found that the figures
have grown significantly more muscular over the last
20 to 35 years. Another study assessed the body com-
positions of Playgirl centerfold models over the last
25 years and found that the average model gained 27
pounds of muscle and lost 12 pounds of fat (Leit,
Pope, & Gray, 2001). Given the increasing impor-
tance of muscularity, many of the guidelines, criti-
cisms, and recommendations related to assessment
are based on the necessity of examining this facet of
male body image.
Body Image Assessment
This review covers methods of body image assess-
ment that have received the most use with male popu-
lations. To judge the effectiveness of particular mea-
sures, it is necessary to establish general guidelines
for which attributes would, in theory, be most advan-
tageous. The first and most important feature of a
male body image measure is that it evaluates a mus-
cular appearance. A second key characteristic is that
if it contains items that assess features indirectly as-
sociated with the body’s appearance (e.g., eating be-
haviors, and/or exercise), those features must be re-
lated to muscularity. If a scale focuses on specific
body parts or regions, a third required attribute is that
the upper torso be included because evidence sug-
gests that this is an area of particular concern for
males (Garner, 1997; Thompson & Tantleff, 1992).
The review of measures is divided into two groups
that have traditionally been used in body image re-
search: perceptual and subjective/attitudinal (Thomp-
son, 1990). Although in the last several years there
has been strong evidence that there may not be a clear
division between subjective and perceptual body im-
age (for a review, see Thompson & Gardner, 2002),
we retain this distinction to better organize the
Perceptual Assessment
Measurement of Size Accuracy
Most perceptual measures assess a person’s ability
to accurately estimate his or her own body size. Two
types of measures for assessing size accuracy have
traditionally been used: whole-image and body-site
adjustment methods. In whole-image adjustment
methods, an image of one’s body is distorted (by,
e.g., photograph and video), and size accuracy is de-
termined on the basis of one’s ability to choose the
body that most closely resembles his or her own
among the distorted images. Body-site adjustment
procedures ask participants to determine the size of
specific body parts, with accuracy assessed based on
the degree to which one overestimates a group of
body sites. Body-site adjustment procedures have tra-
ditionally been used more frequently than whole-
image techniques because they do not induce distress
among participants and are more cost-effective
(Thompson, 1996).
The first body-site adjustment procedure was the
movable caliper technique (Slade & Russell, 1973).
The movable caliper technique consists of a horizon-
tal bar with two lights mounted on a track and re-
quires participants to modify the lights so that they
reflect the perceived size of the body part. Another
body-site adjustment technique is the image marking
procedure, which asks participants to mark their es-
timated body widths on a sheet of paper attached to a
wall (Askevold, 1975). An important advancement in
body-site assessment is a group of measures known
as projected light beam apparatuses. Ruff and Barrios
(1986) were the first to develop such a measure: the
body image detection device (BIDD). The BIDD
consists of an overhead projector projecting a hori-
zontal band of light onto a wall in a darkened room.
Participants are asked to estimate the width of vary-
ing body sites by adjusting the width of the projected
light band. Thompson and Thompson (1986) altered
the BIDD so that it simultaneously projected four
light beams, each corresponding to a particular body
part (cheeks, waist, hips, and thighs). This variation
is the adjustable light beam apparatus (ALBA;
Thompson & Spana, 1988).
The few studies that have used body-site adjust-
ment methods with males have used projected light
beam apparatuses. Generally, males have been found
to overestimate, but do so significantly less than non-
clinical women (Keeton, Cash, & Brown, 1990;
Thompson & Thompson, 1986). Using a modifica-
tion of the ALBA, Gendebien and Smith (1992)
found equivalent levels of misperception for men and
women when sites on the upper torso were grouped
(chest and shoulders) and compared with a group of
sites in the mid/lower torso (waist, hips, and thighs).
Interpreting the result of body size overestimation
among women is simple given that they want thinner
bodies, they overestimate because they are dissatis-
fied, and they believe that they are larger than they
actually are. With males, interpretation is more dif-
ficult because body composition is more salient than
body size, and it is not known what aspect of body
composition is driving the misperception: muscles or
body fat.
As may have become apparent from the prior dis-
cussion, there is a conceptual problem with using
perceptual measures to assess size accuracy in male
populations. Although body size accuracy is a rel-
evant concept for females because they tend to want
thinner bodies, it is awkward to suggest that size is as
important to males because their body ideal is prob-
ably not as unilateral. Given that the socialized male
body ideal is composed of high degrees of muscular-
ity and low degrees of body fat (Leit et al., 2001;
Pope et al., 1999), the polar effects of these two
facets of appearance lead to the nonexistence of a
particular body size that is necessarily associated
with the male body ideal. Perception of body size
accuracy in males would seem to be highly variable
based on individual factors, one’s own body type,
and body ideal.
For most male populations, it seems that percep-
tual assessment based on size accuracy would not tap
the true nature of their misperception. Specifically,
the measures of perceptual accuracy reviewed here
do not fully consider both aspects of male appearance
and, as such, are not consistent with the first guide-
line: evaluation of a muscular appearance. The kind
of measure that would be needed to assess perception
would have to be one that examined body composi-
tion rather than body size.
It should be noted that measures of size accuracy
may still be useful in populations of males who ide-
alize particular body sizes. For example, eating-
disordered males (i.e., anorexic and bulimic) tend to
have small or thin body ideals (Kearney-Cooke &
Steichen-Asch, 1990), whereas serious and competi-
tive bodybuilders probably have large body ideals. If
body size assessment is to continue to be used in the
future with male populations, specifically those that
idealize particular body sizes, three recommenda-
tions should be considered. First, researchers should
adhere to the third guideline of this review: the in-
clusion of body sites located on the upper torso. This
is a concern because past studies assessing size ac-
curacy have normally focused on sites of the lower
torso. Second, researchers should be attentive to the
directionality of misperception for particular body
sites because they might differ based on the popula-
tion being studied. For instance, eating-disordered
persons should be expected to overestimate all body
sites, whereas bodybuilders would be expected to
overestimate some sites (e.g., cheeks, waist, hips) and
underestimate others (e.g., chest, back, arms). Third,
researchers should be aware of the potential influence
of situational and experimental factors (Thompson et
al., 1999). For example, a situational factor to con-
sider is whether participants eat before taking the
perceptual measure, whereas an experimental factor
is the influence of ambient illumination in the place
where the measure is being administered.
Perceptual Measurement With
Weight Categories
A number of studies using male samples have
measured perceptual accuracy by taking the discrep-
ancy between one’s own perception of belonging to a
weight category (under-, over-, or normal weight)
versus their actual belonging to that category based
on their body mass index. Studies using this meth-
odology have found that about half of the men mis-
perceive their body weight (Conner-Greene, 1988;
McCauley, Mintz, & Glenn, 1988). Among those
who misperceived, one study found the mispercep-
tion to be evenly split between overweight and un-
derweight (Conner-Greene, 1988), whereas the other
found that a fifth misperceived toward overweight
and the rest toward underweight (McCauley et al.,
1988). More recently, a national study of a Canadian
sample found that almost 50% of overweight men
(based on self-reported heights and weights) thought
they were normal weight (McCreary, 2002).
A slightly more complex measure of perceptual
accuracy based on weight is the Body Image Distor-
tion Questionnaire (BIDQ; Mable, Balance, & Gal-
gan, 1986). The BIDQ asks participants to indicate
the point that represents their body size on a con-
tinuum ranging from 50% underweight to 50% over-
weight (the halfway point was designated as just
right). Percentage of misperception is then deter-
mined by the following formula: [(perceived weight
deviation/deviation of reported weight)] 1 × 100
% distortion.
No significant distortion has been found with non-
clinical males, but male bodybuilders did have sig-
nificant misperception in the direction of underesti-
mating weight (Loosemore & Moriarity, 1990;
Mable et al., 1986). The percentage of misperception
was comparable to the overestimation of nonclinical
women (Loosemore & Moriarity, 1990).
Several criticisms can be raised of perceptual mea-
surement based on weight. These measures are in-
consistent with the first guideline because they do not
effectively assess a muscular appearance. Body
weight does not suggest anything about the appear-
ance of males because a weight value cannot discern
one’s distribution of body fat and muscularity. More-
over, Martin (1995) has raised several methodologi-
cal criticisms of perceptual measurements based on
weight categories: (a) A participant’s previous expo-
sure or lack of exposure to height–weight tables may
influence their response; (b) responses may be based
on stereotype biases and not personal assessment;
and (c) the height–weight tables do not account for
body composition, which forces a heterogeneous
classification of different subgroups of males that
are expected to differ with respect to body image.
Based on the shortcomings of perceptual measure-
ment with weight categories, it is not recommended
that they continue to be used as measures of percep-
tual accuracy.
Subjective Assessment
Subjective body image assessments are premised
on evaluating the feelings or thoughts produced by
internalized images of bodies. Research in this field
has traditionally focused on a person’s satisfaction
with appearance (Thompson, 1990). In the 1990s,
studies began looking at other facets of appearance:
concern, anxiety, orientation (i.e., investment in ap-
pearance), and evaluation (i.e. attitudinal judgments
of appearance; Cash & Pruzinsky, 1990; Thompson,
1990). Researchers have also attempted to assess al-
ternative somatic domains to appearance, fitness, and
health/illness (Brown, Cash, & Milkulka, 1990).
Moreover, some studies have assessed two distinct
domains of satisfaction—cognitive and affective
(e.g., Thompson & Altabe, 1991)—a distinction
evaluated among perceptual measures as well (e.g.,
Thompson & Dolce, 1989).
As pervasive as the conceptual domains of body
image attitudes are, distinctions can further be made
based on the traits of the measures. For the purposes
of this review, body image measures will be distin-
guished based on two different kinds of rating pro-
tocols. One kind of protocol asks participants to re-
spond to an item based on a Likert scale rating. In this
class of assessment are a variety of body image mea-
sures, ranging from those that only assess one domain
of body image to those that assess multiple domains.
The other kind of protocol asks participants to re-
spond to an item based on scaled contour drawn sil-
houettes of bodies. The silhouette drawings used in
these measures have traditionally assessed satisfac-
tion based on figures that vary only in their degree of
adiposity, but a few scales have used figures that vary
in their degree of muscularity.
Likert Ratings of Body Image
The Body-Cathexis Scale (BCS) was the first
widely used and standardized measure of body image
(Secord & Jourard, 1953). The BCS is a 12-item
index of general satisfaction, asking participants to
rate their body parts (e.g., “waist”) on a 5-point
Likert scale (1 have strong feelings and wish
change could somehow be made;5 consider my-
self fortunate). Using this scale or slight modifica-
tions thereof resulted in the initial finding that men
and women were dissatisfied with their bodies to the
same degree (Secord & Jourard, 1953). More recent
studies have found greater dissatisfaction among
women than men (McCauley et al., 1988; Mintz &
Betz, 1986).
The Body Esteem Scale (BES) is a heavily revised
version of the BCS (Franzoi & Shields, 1984). The
BES is a 35-item measure with a 5-point response
and scoring format that assesses body satisfaction for
males according to three domains: physical attrac-
tiveness (e.g., buttocks), upper body strength (e.g.,
biceps), and physical condition (e.g., physical
stamina). For women, the scale can also be divided
into three domains: sexual attractiveness, weight con-
cern, and physical condition. There is cross-gender
overlap of items; some items are asked exclusively of
one gender. No gender differences were found when
men’s and women’s overall BES scores were com-
pared (Silberstein, Striegel-Moore, Timko, & Rodin,
The Body Dissatisfaction (BD) subscale of the
Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI) is frequently used as
a body image measure (Garner, Olmstead, & Polivy,
1983). The EDI-BD is a nine-item measure (e.g., “I
think my stomach is too big”) with a 6-point response
format. The measure contains items that are primarily
geared toward assessment of dissatisfaction relative
to a thin body ideal. Typically, females score higher
than males on the EDI-BD. For example, one study
found that EDI-BD scores were significantly higher
among adolescent girls than boys (Paxton et al.,
1991). Other studies comparing different athletic
groups of males have found that bodybuilders (i.e.,
aesthetically oriented weight lifters) are significantly
more dissatisfied than other athletes and nonathletes.
For instance, Loosemore and Moriarity (1990) re-
ported significantly greater body dissatisfaction in
male bodybuilders than in both athletic (hockey play-
ers) and nonathletic comparison groups.
The Multidimensional Body-Self Relations Ques-
tionnaire (MBSRQ) is a 69-item measure with a
5-point response format that consists of eight sub-
scales (Brown et al., 1990). Six of the subscales as-
sess evaluation and orientation separately for three
somatic domains: appearance, health, and fitness. Of
the remaining two subscales, one is a six-item mea-
sure related to weight loss concerns. The other is the
Body Areas Satisfaction Scale (BASS), a very popu-
lar nine-item measure (e.g., items such as “overall
appearance”) dealing with satisfaction of body parts/
features. On the BASS men have been found to be
progressively increasing in their degree of dissatis-
faction over a recent 25-year period (cf. Berscheid et
al., 1973; Cash, Winstead, & Janada, 1986; Garner,
1997). Although women have consistently been
found to be more dissatisfied than men on the BASS,
that margin appears to be narrowing.
The Drive for Muscularity Scale (DMS) assesses
attitudes and behaviors related to satisfaction with a
muscular appearance (McCreary & Sasse, 2000). The
DMS is a 15-item measure with a 6-point response
format. High school boys (mean age 18 years)
were found to have a greater drive for muscularity
than girls; the scores of boys were significantly re-
lated to poor self-esteem and high levels of depres-
sion (McCreary & Sasse, 2000).
With the exception of the DMS, a shortcoming of
the reviewed Likert scales is their inability to tap the
specific nature of male body image concerns. The
scales do not assess muscularity concerns in any
great depth, making them inconsistent with the first
guideline of the review: evaluation of a muscular
appearance. This inadequacy is most apparent on the
EDI-BD and the BCS (including its modifications).
The appearance of body parts is assessed without
looking at the specific nature of the dissatisfaction,
which make these measures very general satisfaction
indexes. The BES can be considered a general index
of satisfaction like the EDI-BD and the BCS; how-
ever, it contains one item, muscular strength, which
seems to tap a fitness domain of muscle-related sat-
isfaction. Similarly, the MBSRQ has one item,
muscle tone, which deals with muscle-related appear-
ance satisfaction. In contrast, the DMS has numerous
items that assess attitudes and behaviors associated
with a muscular appearance.
Additional problems with a few of the measures
are related to their discrepancy with the second
guideline, assessment of behaviors related to a mus-
cular appearance, and third guideline, assessment of
the upper torso. For instance, the EDI-BD contains
items focused exclusively on the mid and lower tor-
sos. The absence of items assessing the upper torso is
related to the EDI-BD being a measure of body dis-
satisfaction for eating-disordered persons (i.e., an-
orexia and bulimia nervosa), a purpose that makes the
measure difficult to implement in male populations
that have a muscular body ideal.
A concern with the MBSRQ is the inclusion of
weight-related items geared toward assessing a thin
appearance. As noted in the second guideline, mea-
sures that include features associated with the body
should have items related to the dimension of mus-
cularity, which the MBSRQ does not. In contrast, the
DMS is consistent with the second and third guide-
lines of this review by having items related to the
upper torso and addressing behaviors related to de-
velopment of a muscular appearance. Of the re-
viewed Likert scales, the DMS is the only measure
that appears to assess relevant body image attitudes
and behaviors associated with a muscular appear-
ance. Additionally, the DMS has good validity, in-
ternal consistency (coefficient alpha for males .83;
McCreary & Sasse, 2000), and test–retest reliability
(r .93; Cafri, Thompson, & Roehrig, 2002). There-
fore, it is the only Likert measure to date that is
recommended in future assessments of male body
Contour-Drawn Silhouette Scales
Contour-drawn silhouette scales are the most
popular method of assessing the subjective dimen-
sion of body satisfaction. Typically, the silhouettes
are ordered in terms of increasing adiposity on a
numbered scale. Participants are asked to select a
number rating how they think they look and how they
would like to look. The difference between the two
ratings is then used as an index of dissatisfaction.
Historically, the most frequently used silhouette
scales for males were adapted from figures ranging
from thin to obese provided by Stunkard, Sorensen,
and Schulsinger (1983). Although use of scales with
figures provided by Stunkard et al. has subsided be-
cause of a number of appearance flaws corrected in
newer silhouette drawings (e.g., Contour Drawn Rat-
ing Scale; Thompson & Gray, 1995), the scales have
retained the same structure by having their figures
vary exclusively along the dimension of body fat.
Only in the last couple of years have male silhouette
drawings that include muscularity become a part of
mainstream body image assessment (e.g., Lynch &
Zellner, 1999).
A number of studies using figures adapted from
Stunkard et al. (1983) found that men were not dis-
satisfied with their bodies (Fallon & Rozin, 1985;
Zellner, Harner, & Adler, 1989; Tiggemann & Pen-
nington, 1990). A few studies that implemented dif-
ferent statistical analyses with use of absolute values
to assess dissatisfaction found that body dissatisfac-
tion is split between wanting to be more adipose/
larger and wanting to be thinner/smaller (Cohn &
Adler, 1992; Raudenbush & Zellner, 1997; Silber-
stein et al., 1988). Raudenbush and Zellner (1997)
found that if a man is overweight, he will desire to
have a thinner/smaller figure. If he is normal weight
or underweight, he will desire to have a more adi-
pose/larger figure. Similarly, studies of body weight
satisfaction without silhouettes have found that about
half of the men want heavier figures and half want
lighter figures (Cohn & Adler, 1992; Conner-Greene,
1988; Drewnowski & Yee, 1987).
A few studies have used silhouettes that incorpo-
rate muscularity into the appearance of their figures.
The first of such scales was the Perceived Somato-
type Scale (PSS), which has seven contour-drawn
male figures ranging from thin to muscular to obese
(Tucker, 1982). The manner in which the scale is
constructed prevents it from being a continuous mea-
sure of satisfaction. The only data that can be derived
from the scale itself are categorical in nature. Using
the PSS with a version of the BCS, Tucker (1982)
found that as one’s self-perceived body deviates from
a muscular to a thin figure, and more so to an obese
figure, body satisfaction declines. The Chest Rating
Scale (CRS) is a silhouette scale of five male figures
that only increase in muscularity in the upper and
mid-torso regions of the body (Thompson & Tantleff,
1992). Using this scale, Thompson and Tantleff
found significant dissatisfaction among college
males, in the direction of wanting a more muscular
appearance. Lynch and Zellner (1999) constructed a
numbered silhouette scale of 10 male figures that
progressively increase in muscularity throughout the
whole body. Using this scale, dissatisfaction in the
direction of favoring a more muscular body was
found for college-age men but not for an older cohort
(M 47.8 years). Because scales containing mus-
cular figures have found that men are significantly
dissatisfied with their appearance, inclusion of the
muscularity variable appears to be important in the
assessment of appearance satisfaction.
The limitation of silhouette scales that have figures
that vary exclusively in their degree of adiposity is
evident. By excluding the dimension of muscularity,
there is no way to tap the central appearance concerns
of males. Such forms of assessment prevent even an
indirect assessment of male body image because pro-
viding figures that vary only with respect to body fat
systematically excludes assessment based on muscu-
larity. Given this limitation alone, it is not recom-
mended that scales that vary exclusively with respect
to adiposity receive use in male populations.
The reviewed silhouette scales that vary in their
degree of muscularity have a shortcoming as well.
Such scales lack the ability to methodically record
whether body fat or muscularity is determining a
muscular appearance. This is an important feature
because data obtained with the somatomorphic ma-
trix, a silhouette measure that can differentiate be-
tween the two variables, suggest that muscle dissat-
isfaction has a significantly greater relationship to
well-being than body fat dissatisfaction (Cafri,
Strauss, & Thompson, 2002).
The application of silhouette scales to the measure-
ment of body image can be criticized on a number of
methodological grounds. These criticisms can be ap-
plied to all the just-mentioned silhouette scales.
Gardner, Friedman, and Jackson (1998) have re-
viewed these methodological concerns; they include
such issues as scale coarseness and method of pre-
sentation. Scale coarseness refers to the measurement
of a continuous variable using discrete response op-
tions. Because body image is a continuous variable
and silhouette scales are discrete methods of measur-
ing body image, such scales can be considered a
coarse method of assessment. The relevance of scale
coarseness is the information loss that is produced.
For instance, it has been demonstrated that scale
coarseness can produce false increases or decreases
in moderated regression effect size (i.e., proportion of
variance accounted for when the interaction between
two predictors is evaluated; Russell, Pinto, & Bobko,
1991). Another consideration is the manner in which
silhouettes are presented. Most silhouettes are ar-
ranged in ascending size, which may produce spuri-
ously high test–retest reliability because participants
are able to easily recall the figures they first rated.
The relevance of these methodological concerns is
that they should deter use of the kinds of silhouette
measures previously described.
The Somatomorphic Matrix
The somatomorphic matrix is a bidimensional
computerized body image test that can assess body
image satisfaction and perceptual accuracy with re-
spect to muscularity and body fat (Gruber et al.,
1999). The male version of the test consists of a
computerized library of 100 images of men, arranged
in a 10 × 10 matrix, representing 10 degrees of body
fat and 10 degrees of muscularity. On the body fat
axis, the figures begin at 4% body fat and increase in
increments of 4%. On the muscularity axis, the im-
ages begin at a fat-free mass index (FFMI; Kouri,
Pope, Katz, & Oliva, 1995) of 16.5 kg/m
and in-
crease in increments of 1.5 kg/m
. For a frame of
reference, a male with an FFMI of 18 would be below
average, an FFMI of 20 would be average, an FFMI
of 22 would be distinctly muscular, and an FFMI of
25 would be the upper limit of muscularity achieved
without the use of steroids (Gruber et al., 1999).
While running this test on a computer, participants
are presented with a figure from the middle of its
library of images (i.e., the figure has a body fat per-
centage [BF%] of 20% and an FFMI of 22.5 kg/m
Participants are instructed to answer questions related
to their body image attitudes (e.g., “choose the image
that best represents your own body”). Buttons on the
screen allow participants to choose figures that an-
swer the questions by scrolling through the image
library. Each figure selected has a corresponding nu-
merical value for muscularity and body fat, enabling
it to be a perceptual index if rating of self on the
measure is compared with a person’s actual body
composition values and a subjective index if ratings
of self and ideal are compared.
In terms of psychometric properties, the somato-
morphic matrix has good construct validity but less
than adequate reliability. The measure can be con-
sidered a valid measure because the figures used cor-
respond to particular FFMIs and BF%s (Gruber et al.,
1999). This was done by photographing people with
known FFMIs and BF%s determined by skinfold
measurements with calipers and then having a
graphic artist develop these into drawings (Gruber et
al., 1999). Further validation was achieved by having
experienced kinanthropists (i.e., experts at body com-
position assessment) review the images produced by
the graphic artist, which resulted in an extensive pro-
cess of revision until it was possible to reliably assign
the correct FFMI and BF% to each image in the
matrix (A. Gruber, personal communication, January
30, 2001). With regard to the reliability of the so-
matomorphic matrix, research suggests that there is a
lack of image rating consistency over time (Cafri,
Thompson, & Roehrig, in press). For instance, the
correlations for the dissatisfaction indexes of males
were .57 for body fat and .34 for muscularity.
Clearly, these values are well below the .70 cutoff
regarded as adequate for test–retest reliability. This
shortcoming may in part be resolved by modifying
the measure to improve its reliability (Cafri et al., in
Empirical Findings
In using the somatomorphic matrix with males,
significant muscle dissatisfaction has consistently
been found, but findings for body fat dissatisfaction
have been inconclusive. One study found statistically
significant muscle dissatisfaction but not body fat for
three groups of random males: Austrian, French, and
American (Pope, Gruber, et al., 2000). The degree of
dissatisfaction was 3.4 FFMI, equivalent to wanting
27 more pounds of muscle. In another study, statis-
tically significant muscle and body fat dissatisfaction
were found for American gym users (both weight
trainers and cardiovascular exercisers were included
in the study; Gruber et al., 1999). The degree of
muscle dissatisfaction in the study by Gruber et al.
was 1.7 FFMI, equivalent to 15 more pounds of
muscle. Body fat dissatisfaction was 4.1%, in the
direction of wanting less. In a study of college males,
muscle dissatisfaction of 2.0 FFMI was found, with
body fat dissatisfaction split: Half wanted less (8%
less), 33% wanted more (5.33% more), and the re-
mainder wanted neither less nor more (Cafri, Strauss,
& Thompson, 2002). In the same study, muscle dis-
satisfaction was significantly associated with poor
well-being: higher levels of depression and lower
self-esteem and satisfaction with life. No relationship
between body fat dissatisfaction and well-being was
The somatomorphic matrix has yielded somewhat
inconsistent findings when used as a perceptual mea-
sure with males. Gruber et al. (1999) found that gym
users did not significantly misperceive their muscu-
larity but overestimated their body fat by 2.8%. In the
study by Pope, Gruber, et al. (2000), significant mis-
perception of body fat—an overestimation of 3.6%—
was found only for French men. In the same study,
significant muscle misperception was found for all
three groups, but the direction of misperception was
unexpected: overestimation of 1.2%.
Benefits and Limitations
The somatomorphic matrix represents an impor-
tant advancement in body image assessment. The sig-
nificance of this measure is most apparent when con-
sidered in the context of past male silhouette scales.
By having the figures organized along the axes of
muscularity and body fat, dissatisfaction with respect
to each facet of appearance can be determined. This
enables a precise kind of assessment that was not
possible in any preceding measure of body image.
Moreover, the somatomorphic matrix is not as lim-
ited as other silhouette measures with respect to the
methodological shortcomings described by Gardner
Friedman, and Jackson (1998). The structure of the
test appears to provide a finer form of measurement
because participants only see one rating option at a
time and have as many as 100 figures from which to
select. Moreover, by not seeing the entire matrix of
options or recording the numerical values associated
with particular figures, spuriously high test–retest re-
liability should not result.
As effective as the somatomorphic matrix appears
in theory to assess male body image, it does possess
some limitations. Certainly, the reliability of the mea-
sure presents an important limitation. Another limi-
tation is the degree of accuracy that can be achieved
when the somatomorphic matrix is used as a percep-
tual measure. It is not the matrix that is limited per se;
rather, it is the method of body composition assess-
ment that is used conjointly. For instance, skinfold
measures have been criticized as having a number of
potential sources of error, including degree of experi-
menter expertise, width of caliper jaws, caliper type,
and validity of prediction equations (McArdle,
Katch, & Katch, 1996). Yet another limitation is that
the somatomorphic matrix may have limited applica-
tion in samples that are not able to make ratings be-
cause the measure is not sufficiently extreme in the
figures it provides, such as self-ratings among the
morbidly obese (Stewart, Williamson, Smeets, &
Greenway, 2001). In the case of assessment among
the morbidly obese, the result is likely to be a dis-
satisfaction level that is underestimated.
Somatomorphic Matrix Modification
In view of the somatomorphic matrix having less
than adequate reliability, we developed a modifica-
tion designed with the same intent as the original as
a measure of satisfaction and perceptual accuracy.
The modification consists of 34 images transposed
from the original somatomorphic matrix (using
Adobe Photoshop 5.5), organized in a 10 × 10 matrix
and presented on a 2 × 3 foot poster board (Figure 1).
To fit the images onto the modification, a reduction
of image size from the original was necessary, but the
images were not reduced to the extent that it com-
promised the detail of the drawings. This precaution
was taken because the original images correspond to
particular BF%s and FFMIs and removing detail
would invalidate these values.
Although the modification has only 34 images, it
was constructed in such a way that would allow for
responses to cover the same domain as the 100 fig-
ures found in the original somatomorphic matrix.
This was accomplished by having every third figure
in the image library of the somatomorphic matrix
appear on the modification, starting from the one
with the least body fat and most muscularity. Then,
when participants are asked to respond to an item,
they are not limited to selecting numerical values
corresponding to images appearing on the scale, they
can select intermediate values for which there are no
representative images but only intersecting lines.
Benefits and Limitations
The benefits and limitations of assessing male
body image using the somatomorphic matrix modi-
fication are the same as those described for the origi-
nal. Although it was anticipated that the modification
would subvert the limitation of low reliability, data
indicate test–retest reliability that is slightly better
than the original somatomorphic matrix, but still in-
adequate by conventional standards (Cafri et al., in
press). In view of these findings, attempts are cur-
rently underway to revise the measure to improve its
reliability. Another set of limitations is related to its
paper-and-pencil protocol, which was described as
being limited methodologically. It should be noted,
however, that the modification is not as limited as
previous paper-and-pencil measures. For instance,
rating figures on the modification can be considered
as less coarse than past protocols because participants
are allowed to select intermediate values between ex-
isting figures.
We proposed a standard of assessing male body
image that is centered on a muscular appearance.
Existing measures of attitudes and perception were
reviewed based on the degree to which they con-
formed to general guidelines of assessing a muscular
appearance as well as their avoidance of method-
ological shortcomings. In this context, it was argued
that the DMS, the somatomorphic matrix, and a
modification of the somatomorphic matrix were the
most effective measures of assessing male body im-
age. Increasing use of these measures should lead to
more accurate measurement of male body image.
The practical relevance of effectively measuring
male body image cannot be overstated. Most obvi-
ously, this is because body image disturbance may
lead to adverse psychological functioning (Cafri et
al., 2002; McCreary & Sasse, 2000). Other concerns
are behaviors that are associated with muscle-related
body image disturbance, which can result in adverse
physical and psychological health effects. Such be-
haviors include but are not limited to use of steroids,
-receptor agonists, and rigidly structured diets
(Pope, Phillips, & Olivardia, 2000). For example,
anabolic-androgenic steroids have been known to
cause depressed levels of high-density lipoproteins,
elevated levels of low-density lipoproteins, addiction,
increased aggression, manic symptoms/episodes, and
Figure 1. The somatomorphic matrix modification (actual size 2 × 3 feet).
occasional homicidal tendencies (Pope, Phillips, &
Olivardia, 2000). Use of steroids is just one manifes-
tation of the kind of maladaptive behavior that may
be produced by body image disturbance related to a
muscular appearance.
Given the potentially wide array of harmful effects
that can occur in males as a result of the way they
perceive and think about their bodies, it is clear why
accurate research of male body image is necessary.
Moreover, assessment is particularly important
among adolescent males because of their susceptibil-
ity to internalization of masculine gender norms (Pol-
lack, 1998) as well as the dearth of accurate past
measurement in this population (Cohane & Pope,
2001). Future research should strive to accurately
measure the body image of all males because this
facet of psychology forms the basis of a multitude of
disordered thoughts and behaviors.
Askevold, F. (1975). Measuring body image: Preliminary
report on a new method. Psychotherapy and Psychoso-
matics, 26, 71–77.
Berscheid, E., Walster, E., & Bohrnsedt, G. (1973). The
happy American body: A survey report. Psychology To-
day, November, 119–131.
Brown, T. A., Cash, T. F., & Milkulka, P. J. (1990). Atti-
tudinal body-image assessment: Factor analysis of the
body self-relations questionnaire. Journal of Personality
Assessment, 55, 135–144.
Cafri, G., Strauss, J., & Thompson, J. K. (2002). Male body
image: Satisfaction and its relationship to psychological
functioning using the somatomorphic matrix. Interna-
tional Journal of Men’s Health, 1, 215–231.
Cafri, G., Thompson, J. K., & Roehrig, M. (2002, Novem-
ber). Reliability assessment of muscle-based attitudinal
measures of body image. Poster presented at the Asso-
ciation for Advancement of Behavior Therapy confer-
ence, Reno, NV.
Cafri, G., Thompson, J. K., & Roehrig, M. (in press). Re-
liability assessment of the somatomorphic matrix. Inter-
national Journal of Eating Disorders.
Cash, T. F., & Pruzinsky, T. (1990). Body image: Develop-
ment, deviance and change. New York: Guilford Press.
Cash, T. F., Winstead, B., & Janada, L. (1986). The great
American shape-up. Psychology Today, 20(4), 30–37.
Cohane, G. H., & Pope, H. G. (2001). Body image in boys:
A review of the literature. International Journal of Eating
Disorders, 29, 373–379.
Cohn, L. D., & Adler, N. E. (1992). Female and male per-
ceptions of ideal body shapes: Distorted views among
Caucasian college students. Psychology of Women Quar-
terly, 16,6979.
Conner-Greene, P. A. (1988). Gender differences in body
weight perception and weight loss strategies of college
students. Women and Health, 14, 27–42.
Dibiase, W. J., & Hejelle, L. A. (1968). Body-image ste-
reotypes and body-type preferences among male college
students. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 27, 1143–1146.
Drewnowski, A., & Yee, D. (1987). Men and body image:
Are males satisfied with their body weight? Psychoso-
matic Medicine, 48, 626–634.
Fallon, A., & Rozin, P. (1985). Sex differences in percep-
tions of desirable body shape. Journal of Abnormal Psy-
chology, 94, 102–105.
Franzoi, S. L., & Shields, S. A. (1984). The body esteem
scale: Multidimensional structure and sex differences in
college populations. Journal of Personality Assessment,
48, 173–178.
Gardner, R. M., Friedman, B. N., & Jackson, N. A. (1998).
Methodological concerns when using silhouettes to mea-
sure body image. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 86, 387–
Garner, D. M. (1997). The 1997 body image survey results.
Psychology Today, 30, 75–84.
Garner, D. M., Olmstead, M. A., & Polivy, J. (1983). De-
velopment and validation of a multidimensional eating
disorder inventory for anorexia nervosa and bulimia. In-
ternational Journal of Eating Disorders, 2, 15–34.
Gendebien, M. L., & Smith, M. O. (1992). Field depen-
dence and perceptual, cognitive, and affective measures
of body image in asymptomatic college students. Person-
ality and Individual Differences, 13, 937–943.
Gruber, A. J., Pope, H. G., Borowiecki, J., & Cohane, G.
(1999). The development of the somatomorphic matrix:
A bi-axial instrument for measuring body image in men
and women. In T. S. Olds, J. Dollman, & K. I. Norton
(Eds.), Kinanthropometry VI. Sydney: International So-
ciety for the Advancement of Kinanthropometry.
Guy, R. F., Rankin, B. A., & Norvell, M. J. (1980). The
relation of sex role stereotyping to body image. The Jour-
nal of Psychology, 105, 167–173.
Iwawaki, S., & Lerner, R. M. (1976). Cross-cultural analy-
ses of body-behavior relations: III. Developmental intra-
and inter-cultural factor congruence in the body build
stereotypes of Japanese and American males and females.
Psychologia, 19,6776.
Kearney-Cooke, A., & Steichen-Asch, P. (1990). Men, body
image, and eating disorders. In A. E. Andersen (Ed.),
Males with eating disorders (pp. 54–74). New York:
Keeton, W. P., Cash, T. F., & Brown, T. A. (1990). Body
image or body images: Comparative multidimensional
assessment among college students. Journal of Person-
ality Assessment, 54, 213–230.
Kirkpatrick, S. W., & Sanders, D. M. (1978). Body image
stereotypes: A developmental comparison. The Journal
of Genetic Psychology, 132, 87–95.
Kouri, E. M., Pope, H. G., Jr., Katz, D. L., & Oliva, P.
(1995). Fat-free mass index in users and nonusers of ana-
bolic-androgenic steroids. Clinical Journal of Sports
Medicine, 5, 223–228.
Leit, R. A., Gray, J. J., & Pope, H. G. (2002). The media’s
representation of the ideal male body: A cause for muscle
dysmorphia? International Journal of Eating Disorders,
31, 334–338.
Leit, R. A., Pope, H. G., & Gray, J. J. (2001). Cultural
expectations of masculinity in men: The evolution of
playgirl centerfolds. International Journal of Eating Dis-
orders, 29, 90–93.
Lerner, R. M., & Korn, S. J. (1972). The development of
body-build stereotypes in males. Child Development, 43,
Lerner, R. M., & Pool, K. B. (1972). Body-build stereo-
types: A cross cultural comparison. Psychological Re-
ports, 31, 527–532.
Loosemore, D. J., & Moriarity, D. (1990). Body dissatis-
faction and body image distortion in selected groups of
males. Canadian Association for Health, Physical Edu-
cation and Recreation, 11, 11–15.
Lynch, S. M., & Zellner, D. A. (1999). Figure preferences in
two generations of men: The use of figure drawings il-
lustrating differences in muscle mass. Sex Roles, 40, 833–
Mable, H. M., Balance, W. D. G., & Galgan, R. J. (1986).
Body image distortion and dissatisfaction in university
students. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 63, 907–911.
Martin, E. D. (1995). Male body image reconsidered: A
study of resistance trainers, runners, and sedentary
men. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of
McArdle, W. D., Katch, F. I., & Katch, V. L. (1996). Ex-
ercise physiology: Energy, nutrition, and human perfor-
mance. Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.
McCauley, M., Mintz, L., & Glenn, A. A. (1988). Body
image, self-esteem, and depression-proneness: Closing
the gender gap. Sex Roles, 18, 381–391.
McCreary, D. R. (2002). Gender and age differences in the
relationship between body mass index and perceived
weight: Exploring the paradox. International Journal of
Men’s Health, 1, 31–42.
McCreary, D. R., & Sasse, D. K. (2000). An exploration of
the drive for muscularity in adolescent boys and girls.
Journal of American College Health, 48, 297–304.
Mintz, L. B., & Betz, N. B. (1986). Sex differences in the
nature, realism, and correlates of body image. Sex Roles,
15, 185–195.
Paxton, S. J., Wertheim, E. H., Gibbons, K., Szmukler, G. I.,
Hiller, L., & Petrovich, J. L. (1991). Body image satis-
faction, dieting beliefs, and weight loss behaviors in ado-
lescent girls and boys. Journal of Youth and Adolescence,
20, 361–379.
Pollack, W. (1998). Real boys. New York: Owl Books.
Pope, H.G., Gruber, A., Choi, P., Olivardia, R., & Phillips,
K. (1997). An underrecognized form of body dysmorphic
disorder. Psychosomatics, 38, 548–557.
Pope, H. G., Gruber, A., Magweth B., Bureau, B., deCol, C.,
Jovent, R., & Hudson, J. I. (2000). Body image percep-
tion among men in three countries. American Journal of
Psychiatry, 157, 1297–1301.
Pope, H. G., Olivardia, R., Gruber, A., & Borowiecki, J.
(1999). Evolving ideals of male body image as seen
through action toys. International Journal of Eating Dis-
orders, 26, 65–72.
Pope, H. G., Phillips, K. A., & Olivardia, R. (2000). The
Adonis complex: The secret crisis of male body obses-
sion. New York: Free Press.
Raudenbush, B., & Zellner, D. (1997). Nobody’s satisfied:
Effects of abnormal eating behaviors and actual and per-
ceived weight status on body image satisfaction in males
and females. Journal of Social Psychology and Clinical
Counseling, 16, 95–110.
Ruff, G. A., & Barrios, B. A. (1986). Realistic assessment
of body image. Behavioral Assessment, 8, 237–251.
Russell, C. J., Pinto, J. K., & Bobko, P. (1991). Appropriate
moderated regression and inappropriate research strategy:
A demonstration of information loss due to scale coarse-
ness. Applied Psychological Measurement, 15, 257–266.
Secord, P. F., & Jourard, S. M. (1953). The appraisal of
body cathexis: Body cathexis and the self. Journal of
Consulting Psychology, 17, 343–347.
Silberstein, L. R., Striegel-Moore, R. H., Timko, C., & Ro-
din, J. (1988). Behavioral and psychological implications
of body dissatisfaction: Do men and women differ? Sex
Roles, 19, 219–231.
Slade, P. D., & Russell, G. F. M. (1973). Awareness of body
dimensions in anorexia nervosa: Cross sectional and lon-
gitudinal studies. Psychological Medicine, 3, 188–199.
Stewart, T. M., Williamson, D. A., Smeets, M. A. M., &
Greenway, F. L. (2001). Body morph assessment: Pre-
liminary report on the development of a computerized
measure of body image. Obesity Research, 9, 43–50.
Stunkard, A. J., Sorensen, T., & Schulsinger, F. (1983). Use
of the Danish adoption registrar for the study of obesity
and thinness. In S. S. Kety, L. P. Rowland, R. L. Sidman,
& S. W. Matthysse (Eds.), The genetics of neurological
and psychiatric disorder (pp. 115–120). New York:
Raven Press.
Thompson, J. K. (1990). Body image disturbance assess-
ment and treatment. New York: Pergamon Press.
Thompson, J. K. (1996). Assessing body image disturbance:
Measures, methodology, and implementation. In J. K.
Thompson (Ed.), Body image, eating disorders, and obe-
sity: An integrative guide for assessment and treatment
(pp. 49–81). Washington, DC: American Psychological
Thompson, J. K., & Altabe, M. N. (1991). Psychometric
qualities of the figure rating scale. International Journal
of Eating Disorders, 10, 615–619.
Thompson, J. K., & Dolce, J. J. (1989). The discrepancy
between emotional vs. rational estimates of body size,
actual size, and ideal body ratings: Theoretical and clini-
cal implications. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 45,
Thompson, J. K., & Gardner, D. M. (2002). Measuring per-
ceptual body image among adolescents and adults. In
T. F. Cash & T. Pruzinsky (Eds.), Handbook of body
images. New York: Guilford Press.
Thompson, J. K., Heinberg, L., Altabe, M., & Tantleff-
Dunn, S. (1999). Exacting beauty. Washington, DC:
American Psychological Association.
Thompson, J. K., & Spana, R. E. (1988). The adjustable
light beam method for the assessment of size estimation
accuracy: Description, psychometrics, and normative
data. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 7, 521–
Thompson, J. K., & Tantleff, S. (1992). Female and male
ratings of upper torso: actual, ideal, and stereotypical
conceptions. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality,
7, 345–354.
Thompson, J. K., & Thompson, C. M. (1986). Body size
distortion in asymptomatic, normal weight males and fe-
males. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 5,
Thompson, M. A., & Gray, J. J. (1995). Development and
validation of a new body image assessment scale. Journal
of Personality Assessment, 64, 258–269.
Tiggeman, M., & Pennington, B. (1990). The development
of gender differences in body-size dissatisfaction. Aus-
tralian Psychologist, 25, 306–313.
Tucker, L. A. (1982). Relationship between perceived so-
matotype and body cathexis of college males. Psycho-
logical Reports, 50, 983–989.
Wells, W. D., & Siegel, B. (1961). Stereotyped somato-
types. Psychological Reports, 8, 77–78.
Zellner, D., Harner, D., & Adler, R. (1989). Effects of eat-
ing abnormalities and gender on perceptions of desirable
body shape. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 98, 93–96.
Received May 28, 2002
Revision received March 7, 2003
Accepted April 17, 2003
... Body image shame research has been mainly focussed on women. However, there is growing evidence that body image in men is also an important domain for self-evaluation [27,28]. Body image can be a central dimension of the shame experience due to the emphasis placed on physical appearance as an indicator of social attractiveness, especially in Western societies. ...
... Nonetheless, these studies are mostly focussed on women and little is known about the impact of body shame on men. A possible reason for this is the lack of body image-related measures validated for this population [27]. The current study examined the dimensional structure, psychometric properties and correlates of the BISS [26] in a large sample of men comprising college students and men from the general community. ...
... In women populations, a higher BMI is often the target of stigmatization, shame and criticism from others, because it equates being distant or different from the sociocultural idealized image of female physical appearance. On the contrary, a higher BMI in men may be associated with the idealized and valued male muscular physical appearance [27]. However, a higher BMI in men may also be associated with overweight or obesity, which, along with being perceived as 'small' or 'skinny' is linked to negative self-evaluations and psychological and behavioural maladjustment [29]. ...
Full-text available
Purpose Body image shame plays a key role in disordered eating symptoms and psychological adjustment. Nonetheless, research has been mainly focussed on women. The Body Image Shame Scale (BISS) was previously developed and tested in a nonclinical sample of women. This study examines the BISS in a sample of men comprising students and community participants. Methods Participants were 420 men, who completed the BISS and self-report measures of shame, self-criticism, body weight and shape concerns, and psychopathological symptoms. Results The previously identified structure of the BISS, with an external and internal dimension, fitted the data well. All items presented high reliability. The BISS total score and its subscales in men present high construct reliability, and convergent and discriminant validity. Correlation analyses indicated that BISS and its subscales in men present positive associations with general shame and self-criticism, body weight and shape concerns, and with indices of poorer psychological adjustment. Conclusion Findings supported that the BISS is a reliable measure to assess body shame in men. Level of evidence III: Evidence obtained from well-designed cohort or case–control analytic studies.
... Afin d'é numé rer mé thodiquement les tests, nous proposons de reprendre la classification utilisé e dans la revue de litté rature entreprise par Cafri et al. (2004) [8] sur les diffé rentes caté gories d'outils existants pour mesurer les troubles de l'image du corps chez les hommes, se distinguant en deux classes principales : les outils de mesures perceptuelles et les outils de mesures subjectives/attitudinales. Ainsi, nous pouvons donc retrouver plusieurs types de tests : 1. Mesures de la taille estimé e, 2. Mesures perçues avec caté gories de poids, 3. É valuation subjective image du corps, 4. É valuation en é chelle de Likert, 5. É chelles analogiques visuelles, 6. Matrices morphologiques. Les outils seront pré senté s selon leurs caracté ristiques propres, leurs qualité s psychométriques ainsi que leurs pertinences tant en recherche qu'en clinique. ...
... Afin d'é numé rer mé thodiquement les tests, nous proposons de reprendre la classification utilisé e dans la revue de litté rature entreprise par Cafri et al. (2004) [8] sur les diffé rentes caté gories d'outils existants pour mesurer les troubles de l'image du corps chez les hommes, se distinguant en deux classes principales : les outils de mesures perceptuelles et les outils de mesures subjectives/attitudinales. Ainsi, nous pouvons donc retrouver plusieurs types de tests : 1. Mesures de la taille estimé e, 2. Mesures perçues avec caté gories de poids, 3. É valuation subjective image du corps, 4. É valuation en é chelle de Likert, 5. É chelles analogiques visuelles, 6. Matrices morphologiques. Les outils seront pré senté s selon leurs caracté ristiques propres, leurs qualité s psychométriques ainsi que leurs pertinences tant en recherche qu'en clinique. ...
... Litté ralement traduit comme « inventaire du trouble de dysmorphie musculaire », ce test fut dé veloppé par Hildebrandt 7 Drive for : « Course à ». 8 Drive for size : Course à la taille. 9 Drive for muscularity : Course à la muscularite´. ...
Résumé Au cœur de la controverse, la dysmorphie musculaire subit encore de nombreux questionnements quant à son appartenance nosographique. La légitimité de son entrée dans le DSM-5, en 2013, en tant que dysmorphophobie corporelle spécifique, fut rapidement associée à un manque de rigueur méthodologique face au non-respect des guidelines nécessaires à l’inscription de toute maladie mentale au sein de cette classification. Ainsi, un réel travail de zététique se justifie pour cadrer la définition de la dysmorphie musculaire et de ses moyens d’évaluation. Ce qui constituera un préambule à tout travail réflexif qui aidera à éclaircir la place adéquate de la dysmorphie musculaire dans les classifications des maladies mentales. Notre travail de revue de la littérature s’est intéressé aux publications entre 1997 et 2019 sur le développement d’outils évaluant la dysmorphie musculaire. Ce qui a abouti à : i) un listing exhaustif des outils hétérogènes utilisés ; ii) à la mise en exergue du décalage entre les critères d’évaluation de la dysmorphie musculaire et sa définition nosographique ; ainsi que de iii) la formulation de guidelines quant à son dépistage. De futurs travaux sur l’identité de la dysmorphie musculaire en clinique devront servir à enrichir les connaissances actuelles recueillies à partir des cohortes de recherches ces vingt dernières années et, in fine, à repenser notre façon d’évaluer la dysmorphie musculaire.
... What is particularly clear in the research on this issue is that the majority of adolescents are dissatisfied with their body image and that this is the group most vulnerable to this perception [12][13][14][15][16][19][20][21][22][23][50][51][52][53][54][55][56][57][58][59][60][61][62][63][64][65]. Physical appearance is considered important by almost all adolescents, as it is a critical stage of life and appearance is one of their greatest concerns [15]. ...
... Regarding the differences between genders, our research reflects a greater dissatisfaction in girls, in agreement with other studies [56][57][58][59][60]. In contrast, other authors observed a higher prevalence of dissatisfaction with body image among boys than among girls [61], perhaps due to the desire of male adolescents for a more muscular image, since dissatisfaction can be of two types: those who want a greater body image (indicating strength and musculature) and those who want a slimmer image [62]. What most studies agree on, however, is that the pressure exerted by family, peers, television, cinema and fashion is greater in women than in men, already at an early age, although it increases when reaching adolescence [19,23,63,64]. ...
Full-text available
The main objective of this research article was to make a cluster analysis in Compulsory Secondary Education students with regard to their physical activity levels, their relationship with nutritional habits and body perception. In this study, a total of 1089 students participated, to whom a battery of tests was given in order to assess three aspects: levels of physical activity, food consumption habits and perception of body image. The main results indicated that the adolescent sample presented high levels of physical activity in comparison with other studies. In addition, a profile analysis was carried out, showing that there were no differences in physical activity, in nutritional habits or in body-image index. Taking into account gender, women who practice light physical activity had better nutritional habits. On the other hand, boys dominated in the group of moderate-to-high physical activity, while the girls were mainly included in the profile of low physical activity. Finally, body-image index was greater in men than women. It was concluded that is necessary to promote the importance of adequate nutritional habits in addition to physical activity, and it is necessary to promote body image, particularly among adolescent girls, given their low values of physical activity and worse body-image perception in relation to boys.
... Indeed, in modern Western societies the representation of the ideal male physical appearance has become more pervasive, being focused on a lean-muscular and physically fit body, sharply defined (Cafri & Thompson, 2004;McCreary & Sasse, 2000;Morrison et al., 2003;Morry & Staska, 2001;Pope et al., 1999Pope et al., , 2000. Although the opportunity to assess males' objectification through measures specifically constructed within a feminine perspective has been questioned (Daniel & Bridges, 2010;Daniel, et al., 2014), recent literature extended previous studies conducted with women by further showing the risks that body-objectification bears in promoting men's body dissatisfaction (Harrison & Cantor, 1997;Lavine et al., 1999), body shame and control over body image via SNS use (Gioia et al., 2020). ...
Full-text available
Objective: According to the objectification framework, media pressure toward body models promotes the internalization of beauty ideals that negatively influence individuals' body image and self-esteem. Historically, women have been the main target of sociocultural pressures. However, research has recently suggested that self-objectification is a male phenomenon as well, which can be inscribed in men's body experiences. Nevertheless, fewer studies have specifically focused on the male experience and general consequences of body-objectification are yet to be extensively analyzed regarding males' body image features. The current cross-sectional study explores the consequences of body-objectification on male body esteem, specifically testing the predictive role of exercising/dietary habits, body-objectification features, and SNS-related practices on male body esteem. Method: A total of 238 male participants (mean age = 24.28 years, SD = 4.32) have been involved in an online survey. Three hierarchical analyses were performed to test the influence of objectified body consciousness and social networking-related experiences (i.e. Instagram intensity use, photo manipulation, selfie feedback investment) on young men's body esteem with specific reference to the weight, appearance, and attribution features of the Body Esteem Scale. Results: Findings highlighted that body shame played an interesting key role, influencing negatively all the body esteem dimensions, thus highlighting that attention needs to be deserved on this feature of OBC regarding males' experience. On the contrary, appearance control-related dimensions positively influenced body esteem. Overall, findings confirmed that objectification theory can adequately mark a pathway by which media imagery is internalized also by men and may negatively affect their body esteem. Conclusions: Despite some limitations, this study may contribute to enlarging our knowledge on male body image and self-objectification experience and support literature shattering the stereotype that body dissatisfaction is a "female-exclusive" issue. Likewise, beyond some questioning positions, these findings also encourage further exploration of a healthier "control dimension", including body appearance-related activities and beliefs.
... More specifically, men tend to idolise the mesomorphic build -a low percentage of body fat, combined with a defined, visible, but not excessive muscle build. Specifically, a V-shaped torso, characterised by well-developed muscles on the chest, shoulders, arms, and slim waist and hips (Cafri & Thompson, 2004;Grogan & Richards, 2002;Ridgeway & Tylka, 2005). This description of the perceived ideal male body is relatively well-established in the empirical literature and has been described by sexual minority and heterosexual males across various studies (Martins et al., 2007;Olivardia et al., 2004;Stanford & McCabe, 2005). ...
Objective: The present study sought to examine self-ratings of actual and ideal bodies, as well as attractiveness ratings of other bodies in an Australian undergraduate sample. Additionally, associations between body preferences and self-body ratings in men and women were explored. Method: Five-hundred-and-seventy heterosexual men and women selected their actual and ideal body, and the body they found most attractive utilizing bi-dimensional figural rating scales. Results: Results showed that on average both men and women wanted to have less body fat and more muscularity than they perceived that they had. Additionally, results showed that women’s body fat ideals are thinner than men prefer, but their ideal muscularity was congruent with what men selected as most attractive. Men, however, showed exaggerated thinness and muscularity compared to female preferences. Results also showed small to moderate positive correlations between both men and women’s perceived actual body, and the body they found most attractive in a different gender for body fat and muscularity, respectively. Conclusions: These results add to the evidence of discrepancy between perceived actual and ideal bodies for men and women, and ideal bodies and what is attractive to others. Additionally, results highlight the significance of perceived body characteristics in influencing attraction.
... When dealing with people with weight or eating problems, a crucial aspect to consider is the media influence on young people. The sociocultural model suggests that cultural pressures to achieve a beauty ideal of extreme thinness in women (Escandón-Nagel, Vargas & Herrera, 2019; Heinberg et al., 2008;Levine & Piran, 2004;Striegel, 2019;Thompson & Stice, 2001) or muscularity for men (Cafri & Thompson 2004;Compte, Sepúlveda, de Pellegrin & Blanco, 2015;Griffiths, Murray & Touyz, 2013;Rosenman, Kaplan, Gaunt, Pinho & Guy, 2018), and the internalization of these aesthetic ideals, contribute to the development of body dissatisfaction among women and men. Studies like the one of Harrison and Cantor (1997) or the naturalistic study conducted by Becker, Burwell, Gilman, Herzog and Hamburg (2002) concluded that a greater exposure to media, especially that promotes thinness, predicted eating disorders (ED) among women and men. ...
Full-text available
The Sociocultural Attitudes Towards Appearance Questionnaire-3 (SATAQ-3) is one of the instruments used to measure the influence of mass media on adolescents, and is a useful instrument that has been widely applied in different countries and translated to many languages. The present study is the first validation of the Mexican version of the SATAQ-3 with a male college student sample. A total of 148 students participated in the study (M = 19.1, SD = 2.14). A principal axis factor analysis was used to evaluate the scale, yielding a poor result, due to the formation of an extra factor with reverse-keyed items. Therefore, reversed key items were removed and a second analysis was conducted. After removing reverse-key items, a four-factor structure was obtained: Pressures, Internalization-general, Internalization-athletic, and Information. The internal consistency obtained for SATAQ-3 was satisfactory (α = .81), however, it was slightly lower than the original. Regarding the concurrent validation, the SATAQ-3 presented significant correlations with body dissatisfaction, social perfectionism and psychological distress. SATAQ-3 is an appropriate instrument to measure the internalization of aesthetic ideals and acceptance, among male college students in Mexico.ResumenUno de los cuestionarios más utilizados para medir la influencia de los medios de comunicación es el Cuestionario de Actitudes Socioculturales hacia la Apariencia (SATAQ-3), el cual ha sido traducido a varias lenguas y aplicado en distintos países. El presente estudio constituye la primera validación mexicana del SATAQ-3 en varones. Participaron 148 estudiantes universitarios (M = 19.1, DE = 2.14). Para evaluar la escala se realizó un análisis factorial de ejes principales, obteniendo inicialmente un resultado pobre, dada la formación de un factor extra con los ítems con redacción inversa. Por esta razón dichos ítems fueron removidos y se condujo un segundo análisis que derivó una estructura de cuatro factores: Presión, Interiorización general, Interiorización atlética, e Información. La consistencia interna del SATAQ-3 fue satisfactoria (α = .81), sin embargo fue un poco menor a la obtenida de la escala original. Respecto a la validación concurrente, el SATAQ-3 presentó correlaciones significativas con la insatisfacción corporal, el perfeccionismo social y el malestar psicológico. El SATAQ-3 es un instrumento apropiado para medir la interiorización de los ideales estéticos y su aceptación en estudiantes universitarios varones mexicanos.
Full-text available
To understand how people who are overly concerned about their musculature think and act, it is important to have appropriate measuring instruments. Therefore, the objective of this study was to examine the published literature on the psychometric properties of the measures developed to assess male body image, drive for muscularity and muscle dysmorphia. For the inclusion of the measures to analyze, the criteria proposed by Cafri and Thompson (2004) were applied. The instruments were classified into three main groups: muscle dissatisfaction, drive for muscularity and muscle dysmorphia. To describe the instruments, we considered the description of the scale, their psychometric data obtained by the developers, and additional psychometric evidence, with emphasis on Hispanic and Latino populations. Of the 14 instruments that exist to measure muscular dissatisfaction , drive for muscularity or symptomatology of muscular dysmorphia, only seven have been evaluated psychometrically in Hispanic or Latin samples. In general, all instruments have adequate
The purpose of this research was to provide a comprehensive descriptive content analysis of empirical research focused on muscularity and published in refereed journals in 2000 through 2019. This is the second part of a two-part series in which the research aims were to characterize the research on muscularity with respect to the theories employed, the measures of muscularity utilized, the extent to which researchers reported reliability and validity for measures of muscularity used, and to report on the journals that publish this type of research and the disciplines these journals represent. We present an overview of relevant theories and how they can be applied to understanding muscularity. This presentation is followed by a discussion of measurements of muscularity. To locate studies multiple available databases were searched resulting in a sample of 176 empirical articles which collectively contained 203 studies. Most studies did not report using theoretical guidance. Of those researchers that did report theories, most used theories from the body image literature; the tripartite model was used most frequently. In 181 studies at least one measure of muscularity was used. The most frequently employed measure was the drive for muscularity scale. A plurality of studies reported their own assessment of reliability as well as others’ reliabilities for the same measure. Most studies did not report validity for muscularity measures employed. Articles analysed came from a wide variety of journals primarily representing two major fields of inquiry: psychology and interdisciplinary.
Full-text available
La Imagen Corporal es un constructo multidimensional complejo que engloba las percepciones, pensamientos, actitudes y sentimientos del ser humano sobre su cuerpo, la manera en que estima su tamaño, evalúa su atractivo, las emociones asociadas con su forma y apariencia, así como las conductas dirigidas a su manejo. En este libro se describe la psicopatología de la imagen corporal, sus definiciones, alteraciones, teorías y evaluación, permitiendo al lector conocer sobre las preocupaciones exageradas sobre la percepción de la imagen del cuerpo, que pueden incluso llegar a desencadenar serias alteraciones de la imagen corporal. Además, en sus contenidos se describen indicadores y criterios clínicos de algunas psicoptologías, así como la preocupación por la apariencia. Se estudia diferentes instrumentos para la evaluación de la IC y su relación con aspectos de la salud mental. Se hace un repaso a diferentes teorías y se describen algunas perspectivas desde la psicología clínica. La investigación empírica, publicada en dos artículos científicos, cuyos resultados concluyen que la presión social ejerce significativamente en la mente de las personas, especialmente por la estética del cuerpo, fenómeno más frecuente en las mujeres que en los hombres y que presentan mayor insatisfacción al valorar su apariencia corporal.
Full-text available
Para comprender la forma en que piensan y actúan las personas excesivamente preocupadas por su musculatura, es importante contar con instrumentos de medición apropiados. Por esto, el objetivo de este estudio fue examinar la literatura publicada sobre las propiedades psicométricas de las medidas desarrolladas para evaluar la imagen corporal masculina, la motivación por la musculatura y la dismorfia muscular. Para la inclusión de los instrumentos a analizar, se aplicaron los criterios propuestos por Cafri y Thompson (2004). Los instrumentos fueron clasificados en tres grandes grupos: insatisfacción muscular, motivación por la musculatura y dismorfia muscular. Para describir los instrumentos, se consideró la descripción de la escala, sus datos psicométricos obtenidos por los desarrolladores y evidencia psicométrica adicional, con énfasis en poblaciones hispanas y latinas. De los 14 instrumentos que existen para medir insatisfacción muscular, motivación por incrementar la musculatura o sintomatología de dismorfia muscular, solo siete han sido evaluados psicométricamente en muestras hispanas o latinas. En general, todos los instrumentos poseen adecuadas propiedades psicométricas para evaluar los constructos insatisfacción muscular, motivación por la musculatura y dismorfia muscular.
Full-text available
Body image and weight loss beliefs and behaviors were assessed in 341 female and 221 male high school students. Estimates of body dissatisfaction varied depending on the measurement strategy used. Despite having similar weight distributions around the expected norm, girls were significantly more dissatisfied with their bodies than boys. Body Mass Index was positively related to body dissatisfaction in girls and boys, while higher exercise levels were related to higher body satisfaction in boys. Nearly two-thirds of girls and boys believed being thinner would have an impact on their lives, but the majority of girls believed this would be positive while the majority of boys believed this would be negative. Thirteen percent of female subjects reported using one or more extreme weight loss behavior at least weekly. Beliefs regarding the effectiveness of different weight loss measures were assessed. Weight loss behaviors in this Australian sample appear similar to comparable U.S. samples.
Full-text available
Paunonen and Jackson (1988) demonstrated that stepwise moderated regression provides a test of interaction effects that protects the nominal Type I error rate. However, the stepwise procedure has also been characterized as failing to detect interaction effects in empirical studies. This issue has led to questions regarding the method's statistical power (Bobko, 1986; Zedeck, 1971) in applied research. It is demonstrated that, because of a research strategy frequently used in empirical investigations, the probability of Type II error in detecting a true interaction effect is unknown. Specifically, the number of scale steps used in measuring the dependent variable is shown to result in a form of systematic error that can spuriously increase or decrease the expected effect size of the interaction. The problem is also discussed in the context of testing more complex models. Recommendations for eliminating this problem in future research designs are provided.
The development and validation of a new measure, the Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI) is described. The EDI is a 64 item, self-report, multiscale measure designed for the assessment of psychological and behavioral traits common in anorexia nervosa (AN) and bulimia. The EDI consists of eight subscales measuring: Drive for Thinness, Bilimia, Body Dissatisfaction, Ineffectiveness, Perfectionism, Interpersonal Distrust, Interoceptive Awareness and Maturity Fears. Reliability (internal consistency) is established for all subscales and several indices of validity are presented. First, AN patients (N=113) are differentiated from femal comparison (FC) subjects (N=577) using a cross-validation procedure. Secondly, patient self-report subscale scores agree with clinician ratings of subscale traits. Thirdly, clinically recovered AN patients score similarly to FCs on all subscales. Finally, convergent and discriminant validity are established for subscales. The EDI was also administered to groups of normal weight bulimic women, obese, and normal weight but formerly obese women, as well as a male comparison group. Group differences are reported and the potential utility of the EDI is discussed.
The primary purpose of this study was to determine if males grouped according to self-perceived somatotype differ significantly in body concept, while a subordinate purpose was to identify the perceived somatotype response trends of a college male population. The Perceived Somatotype Scale and the Body Cathexis Scale were administered to 88 male undergraduates, and the data were analyzed by multiple regression. The somatotype the males perceived as their own, and the body build perceived as ideal accounted for 27.9% and 4.3% of the variance in body-cathexis scores, respectively. A measure of discrepancy between the perceived somatotype-self and ideal indices accounted for 22.7% of the variance in the criterion. As self-perception of somatotype deviates from mesomorphic and moves toward the ectomorphic and endomorphic poles, especially the latter, self-concept relative to the body tends to decline rapidly. Moreover, males who perceive their physiques differ from their perceived ideals tend to report significantly less body satisfaction than those who perceive no such discrepancy.
The present study replicated Zellner, Harner, and Adler (1989) in finding that all young adult women rate their Ideal f gures (what they would like to look like) and Opposite figures (what they believe the opposite sex finds attractive) thinner than their Current figures (how they believe they currently appear). While Low and High Eat scoring women chose an Ideal figure thinner than their Current figure, only High Eat women (indicating abnormal eating behaviors) chose an Ideal figure thinner than what they think men find attractive (Opposite). The present study also found that not only abnormal eating behaviors, but current weight status influences body image perception in young adult males and females. Both overweight men and women want to be thinner. Correct weight men (as determined from the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company height and weight chart, 1983) wish to be heavier, while correct weight women (also determined from the Metropolitan Life Insurance chart) wish to be thinner. Many correct weight males believe they are underweight and so desire to be heavier, whereas females have a tendency to overestimate their size and therefore desire to be thinner. However, even when subjects perceive themselves as the correct weight they are dissatisfied. Almost all of the females who think they are the correct weight (35 out of 40) want to be thinner and 71% of the males either want to be thinner (7 out of 24) or heavier (10 out of 24).
: This study aimed to replicate with an Australian sample Fallon and Rozin's (1985) finding of gender differences in body dissatisfaction, and to further investigate the developmental origins of such dissatisfaction. There were three age groups of subjects: adult undergraduates, adolescents aged 15–16 years, and children aged 9–10 years. All subjects were presented with a set of nine age-relevant silhouette drawings ranging from very thin to very heavy. Adult women rated their current figure as significantly larger than their ideal and attractive figure, whereas there were no differences in rating for men. In contrast to the finding of Cohn et al., (1987), this pattern was replicated in the adolescent group, such that girls, but not boys, showed substantial body dissatisfaction. In the youngest age group, all the children rated their current figures as larger than their ideal. It was concluded that both adolescent and adult women expressed body dissatisfaction and were subjected to pressures toward thinness not suffered by their male counterparts.
The purpose of this study was to assess body size distortion and the relationship between self-esteem and distortion in normal weight, asymptomatic individuals. There were 30 male and 30 female subjects selected from a general college population. Criteria for acceptance included a weight range within 10% of ideal and no history of eating disorder behaviors. Subjects completed Rosenberg's self-esteem questionnaire and estimated the size of four body sites using an adjustable light beam technique. Estimations were compared with actual sizes assessed with body calipers. On the average, all subjects overestimated their body sizes. Females had significantly higher body distortion scores than males, but significantly lower self-esteem scores. There was a significant positive correlation between self-esteem and distortion level for the males' waist and a significant negative correlation for the females' thighs. In addition, there was a significant negative correlation between overall distortion level and self-esteem for females. The results were discussed with regard to the greater incidence of eating disorders in females and the importance of correlates of body distortion in asymptomatic populations.