TitleMuscle Dysmorphia: A New Form of Eating Disorder?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsGoodale, KR, Watkins, PLou, Cardinal, B
JournalJournal of Health Education
Pagination260 - 266
Date Published2001///
ISBN Number1932-5037

AbstractMuscle dysmorphia (MD) has been put forth as a variation of the eating disorders anorexia and bulimia nervosa. In this case, individuals believe that their physiques are too small (i.e., unmuscular) rather than too large. Psychosocial distress and various compensatory behaviors are thought to accompany such misperceptions. Research on this novel diagnostic entity has just begun, with most studies to date examining MD in small samples of male bodybuilders and powerlifters. Instead, the present study examined MD in a relatively large, nonclinical, mixed-gender sample of 323 college students. Results revealed that MD symptomology does appear in the general population, and that men and women experience it to the same extent. Furthermore, MD was significantly associated with eating disorder pathology and depression, and to a lesser extent impaired social support. Sociocultural influences also appear to contribute to this disorder. Hence, treatment is recommended on both the individual and societal level. Individual treatment might entail cognitive-behavioral techniques similar to those applied to individuals with anorexia and bulimia nervosa, whereas societal-level interventions might involve media advocacy and activism approaches.