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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)
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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
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Received May 28, 2002
Revision received March 7, 2003
Accepted April 17, 2003
... Several types of tests have emerged: 1. Measurement of size accuracy, 2. Perceptual measurement with weight categories, 3. Likert ratings of body image, 4. Contour-drawn silhouette scales, 5. The Somatomorphic Matrix [28]. ...
Introduction: Muscle dysmorphia, a theme mainly investigated by Anglo-Saxon research, is a specific body dysmorphic disorder that characterizes individuals who think they are insufficiently muscular and lean. Understudied in francophone countries, tools translated and validated in French to measure the symptomatology of muscle dysmorphia remain rare. Objectives: The aim of this study was the translation into French and the psychometric validation of a tool evaluating muscle dysmorphia, the Muscle Dysmorphic Disorder Inventory (MDDI-Fr), through 13 items divided into three dimensions: the “Drive For Size” (DFS), the “Appearance Intolerance” (AI) and the “Functional Impairment” (FI). Methodology: A first translation step was conducted, followed by two cross-sectional studies conducted in France. In both of the latter studies, a sociodemographic questionnaire and the Muscle Dysmorphic Disorder Inventory – French version (MDDI-Fr) were administered. The first study included 342 university students (Mage = 20.9; SDage = 2.9), and 1822 athletes for the second study (Mage = 23.9; SDage = 5.9). Validation was performed using internal consistency measures and confirmatory factor analysis. Results: The correlation matrices showed good significant results between items and dimensions. The three dimensions appeared distinct from each other with significant intra-dimension correlations. The internal consistency of the tool and its three dimensions show valid Cronbach's alphas (study 1: DFS = 0.79, AI = 0.74, FI = 0.75, MDDI = 0.74; study 2: DFS = 0.72, AI = 0.75, FI = 0.83, MDDI = 0.75). In addition, the trifactor analysis shows significant and promising scores for the tool in three dimensions and 13 items for study 1 (χ2/df = 4.67, CFI = 0.85, TLI = 0.83, RMSEA = 0.10, SRMR = 0.00), as for study 2 (χ2/df = 16.08, CFI = 0.87, TLI = 0.84, RMSEA = 0.09, SRMR = .06). Gender analyses were conducted on study 2, which showed that the DFS subscale (items 1, 4, 5) and the AI subscale (items 6 and 9) presented the greatest differences in factor loadings between genders. Conclusion: The translation, as well as the validation of the MDDI-Fr structured with13 items and three dimensions, showed significantly satisfying results for its adaptation in French in a population of French men and women practicing weight training. However, the “Appearance Intolerance” dimension shows moderate links with the global tool, which should be investigated in future studies. Although the psychometric properties of the MDDI-Fr are promising, additional research is needed to gain a better understanding of gender differences in the results, especially for the DFS dimension.
... Next these photographs were used as a reference for a set of line-drawings depicting the relationship between body shape and composition [72]. The original matrix was composed of 100 line-drawn silhouettes [72], which was then cut down to 34 drawings [73], although this reduced version has low reliability [74]. These drawings have been criticised for being unsatisfactory depictions of body composition and show little detail about the underlying muscularity [52]. ...
Full-text available
Introduction: To determine men’s body ideals and the factors that influence these choices, this study used a matrix of computer generated (CG) male bodies (based on an analysis of 3D scanned real bodies) which independently varied in fat and muscle content. Methods: Two hundred and fifty-eight male participants completed a range of psychometric measures to index body concerns and body ideal internalization and then chose the CG body that best reflected their own current body, as well as the body that reflected their personal ideal. A subset of participants was then retested to check that these judgements were stable over time. Results: While judgements of the ideal body seem to be influenced by a shared appearance ideal, the degree to which this ideal was internalized showed significant variability between participants. The effect of this internalization was reflected in the difference between the estimated current body and the ideal. Discussion: Higher internalization led to a preference for higher muscle and lower fat content. This preference was most marked for fat content, although reducing adiposity also made the underlying musculature more salient. Additionally, the ideal body composition was modulated by the composition the participant believed his current body had (i.e., it seemed that a participant’s ideal body was anchored by what they believed to be their current body and what change was possible from this starting point).
... This tendency makes males susceptible to vulnerable comparisons with images of unreal bodies, which may increase the occurrence of BID by low weight among students and professors, as identified in this study (Fontes et al., 2012). It is also noteworthy that instruments focusing on satisfaction regarding weight and body shape based on fat (and, consequently, concern with low weight) tend to point to a higher prevalence of body image disorder in women (Cafri and Thompson, 2004). In this sense, considering the specificities of the male body image, de Carvalho and Ferreira (2014) highlight the importance of identifying appropriate scales for each population, because, regarding men, it is necessary to choose an evaluative instrument that measures the concern and dissatisfaction regarding muscle tone. ...
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We investigated the prevalence of body image dissatisfaction (BID) and associated factors among professors and undergraduate students in Brazil during the COVID-19 pandemic. Using Stunkard’s Figure Rating Scale, BID was analyzed in a sample of 2,220 adults. The independent variables were sociodemographic, lifestyle, mental health symptoms, COVID-19-related factors, disordered eating, experience of weight stigma, and weight change concerns. We used a multinomial logistic regression analysis. The overall prevalence of BID was 82.5% (69.0% due to excess weight), with more professors dissatisfied by excess weight than undergraduate students (78.9% vs. 61.2%, p < 0.001). In the adjusted model, being a young adult (PR, 1.201, 95% CI: 1.128; 1.279), married or in a stable union (PR, 1.088, 95% CI: 1.027; 1.152), reporting of binge eating episode (PR, 1.120, 95% CI: 1.068; 1.173), concern about weight gain (PR, 1.394, 95% CI: 1.310; 1,483), and experience of excess weight stigma (PR, 1.193, 95% CI: 1.141; 1.248) increased the prevalence of BID due to excess weight. While males (PR, 1.578, 95% CI: 1.328; 1.875), moderate to severe depressive symptoms (PR, 1.217, 95% CI: 1.011; 1.465), the concern of losing weight (PR, 1.494, 95% CI: 1.221; 1.830), and experience of low weight stigma (PR, 2.620, 95% CI: 2.093; 3.280) increased the prevalence of BID due to low weight. Different factors associated with BID were observed between students and professors. Bearing in mind the complexity of body image, it is essential to consider different public health interventions and the COVID-19 pandemic’s influence on reducing BID among Brazilian adults, especially susceptible groups.
... However, lower power can provide more confidence that any significant effects actually exist. Participation was limited to females because body dissatisfaction appears to present differently in males [37,38]. Stratified sampling was used whereby participants were recruited based on their self-reported weight in a prescreen measure. ...
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Negative attitudes towards one’s own body are common among women and are linked to adverse consequences including negative affect, low self-esteem, and eating pathology. Self-compassion has been found effective in improving body image; however, few published studies have examined self-compassion in populations with higher BMIs despite the positive correlation between weight and body dissatisfaction. The current study examined the efficacy of a self-compassion letter-writing exercise versus two active control groups in response to a negative body image induction. The sample of college-aged females (M age = 20.91 years; SD = 5.47) was split between higher and lower BMI to determine whether self-compassion affects body image, affect, and self-esteem differently across weight groups. Weight bias internalization (WBI: i.e., internalization of society’s negative stigma against those with higher BMIs) was examined as a moderator of this relationship in the higher BMI group. Results suggest that letter writing improved body image regardless of condition (p < 0.001). The self-compassion exercise promoted more adaptive body image (p = 0.007) and self-compassion (p = 0.013) than one control condition for those with high WBI. Results suggest that self-compassion can be helpful in ameliorating negative body image for females of all sizes, and that levels of WBI may alter the effect of body image interventions.
... Bagi pria tubuh bugar dan penampilan prima dapat menimbulkan citra yang positif. Beberapa studi menguatkan bahwa kurangnya kekuatan otot menjadi faktor penting bagi laki-laki dalam menimbulkan ketidakpuasan citra tubuh (Cafri & Thompson, 2004;Olivardia et al., 2004) "muscularity is an essential feature of how males think about their bodies". Otot-otot merupakan fitur penting dari bagaimana laki-laki berpikir tentang tubuh mereka. ...
Pubertas adalah periode dalam rentang ketika anak-anak berubah dari makhluk aseksual menjadi seksual, perubahan fisik remaja merupakan ciri utama dari proses biologis yang terjadi pada masa pubertas, dalam hal ini tujuan penelitian ini adalah untuk melihat perbedaan sikap remaja dalam menghadapi perubahan fisik pada masa pubertas ditinjau dari jenis kelamin. Penelitian ini menggunakan jenis penelitian kuantitatif, dengan 50 subjek, dengan menggunakan analisis regresi sederhana dan hasil menunjukkan nilai Asimp Sig. 0,626 > 0,05 maka dapat disimpulkan bahwa H0 ditolak dan Ha diterima, yang berarti bahwa ada pengaruh perbedaan sikap remaja dalam menghadapi perubahan fisik pada masa pubertas ditinjau dari jenis kelamin. Berdasarkan hasil analisis, dapat dibuat kesimpulan bahwa terdapat pengaruh antara pengaruh perbedaan sikap remaja dalam menghadapi perubahan fisik pada masa pubertas ditinjau dari jenis kelamin. Adanya perubahan fisik pada masa pubertas, berpengaruh pada sikap remaja dalam menjalani masa pubertasnya. Dengan demikian perlu adanya pengetahuan dan bimbingan dari lingkungan untuk mendukung dalam menyikapi perubahan fisik tersebut.
Aesthetic labour in the runway modelling industry refers to the practice of recruitment of models-workers on the basis of desired corporeal and facial dispositions. Aesthetic labour theory foregrounds embodiment, which situates the value of physical appearance and aesthetic norms in the workplace context showcasing how the models-workers get recruited and stratified based on their looks. The study employs an explanatory sequential mixed-method design to investigate aesthetic norms including the desired corporeal and facial dispositions that are expected from models-workers in the runway modelling industry. The study included two phases, a quantitative phase and a qualitative phase. The main objective of the first, quantitative research phase, was to investigate the aesthetic norms among 609 international runway models who were recruited to perform in designer exclusive fashion shows during seven consecutive annual fashion week seasons from 2013 to 2020 in New York, Paris, London and/or Milan. The main objective of the second qualitative research phase was to qualify aesthetic norms through a visual content analysis, and in-depth exploration of 40 unretouched professional modelling snapshots (photographs of face and body) for the top new model talents in the 2019–20 fashion season. Model photos were extracted from the popular industry website, The rationale for collecting both quantitative and qualitative data was to form a robust and comprehensive assessment of aesthetic norms in the runway modelling industry. The same level of comprehensiveness would not be obtained by using either type of data individually. This article advances academic research on aesthetic labour in the fashion and modelling industry by showcasing why appearance-based recruitment in this sector represents the practice of occupational segregation that creates social inequalities and negatively impacts the labour market.
This chapter takes a biopsychosocial approach and uses the Tripartite Influence Model to explore how body image influences adolescents. Instead of focusing on solely one factor that might exacerbate body image concerns for the adolescent population, the chapter investigates various sources and mechanisms throughout an adolescent's development from which body image disturbance may originate, ranging from pubertal factors to the media. It also offers a comparison of body ideals and body image concerns across cultures, further showcasing the way body image is constructed. Research does suggest that body image can be improved. Thus, a range of interventions to promote positive body image are discussed, relying on methods from cognitive-dissonance to Dance and Movement Therapy.
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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.
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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.