The relationship between objectification theory and muscle dysmorphia characteristics in men

Bradley Heath, David A. Tod, Lee Kannis-Dymand, Geoff P. Lovell

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Objectification theory has yielded mixed results when utilized to explain male's body image concerns. This study investigated whether a revised model of objectification theory would represent the processes associated with male's engagement in muscle dysmorphia (MD) characteristics. Specifically the mediating role of body shame, which has previously been used to explain the psychological consequences of self-objectification among women, was substituted for muscular dissatisfaction to capture the male experience. A sample of 257 male (Mage = 29.7, SD = 11.2), the majority from Australia, completed an online questionnaire assessing measures of internalization of the mesomorphic ideal, body surveillance, self-objectification, muscular dissatisfaction, and MD characteristics. Path analyses were used to investigate the relationships among these variables. Results indicated that internalization of the mesomorphic ideal mediated body surveillance through self-objectification; consistent with previous research on objectification theory. Muscular dissatisfaction mediated the link of body surveillance with MD characteristics. Additionally, muscular dissatisfaction mediated the link between internalization of the mesomorphic ideal and MD characteristics. Taken together, these findings support the utility of objectification theory in understanding the processes under which MD characteristics are likely to emerge.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-308
Number of pages12
JournalPsychology of Men and Masculinity
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Male body image
  • Muscle dysmorphia characteristics
  • Muscular dissatisfaction
  • Objectification theory
  • Selfobjectification


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