How anorexia and 'bigorexia' in men relates to perceptions of masculinity

How anorexia and 'bigorexia' in men relates to perceptions of masculinity
The research looks at how participants viewed themselves compared to stereotypes of masculinity. Credit: Flickr/istolethetv, used under the Creative Commons licence

(Medical Xpress)—Self-perceived masculinity is higher in men with muscle dysmorphia, popularly called 'bigorexia', than other gym users, while men with anorexia nervosa relate more strongly to feminine stereotypes, research contributed to by the University of Sydney has found.

The findings are published in the Journal of Eating Disorders today.

Research over the last several decades has shown that increasingly men are admitting to being unhappy with their body image. This may show itself in either a desire to lose weight and become thinner, or to gain weight and become more muscular.

Previously sexuality has been believed to be one of the main driving forces behind body dysmorphia in men but this study suggests that how men view themselves is more important.

Researchers from the University of Sydney and the Australian National University used a questionnaire designed to identify how viewed themselves in comparison to culturally accepted stereotypes of masculine thoughts and behaviors.

The results showed that men preoccupied with becoming more muscular, as in muscle dysmorphia, had a greater preference for traditional masculine roles, whereas men with a high desire for , as in , displayed greater adherence to traditional feminine roles.

Study leader, Dr Stuart Murray from the Redleaf Practice, said the research results do "not mean that that the men with anorexia were any less masculine, nor that the men with muscle dysmorphia were less feminine than the recruited. It is however an indication of the increasing pressures men are under to define their in the modern world".

Co-author Professor Stephen Touyz, from the University's School of Psychology said, "This study, if replicated, may provide valuable information for researchers to develop better treatment programs for men with eating disorders."

More information: Masculinity and femininity in the divergence of male body image concerns Stuart B Murray, Elizabeth Rieger, Lisa Karlov and Stephen W Touyz, Journal of Eating Disorders, 2013.

Related Stories

Do women have what it takes?

Jul 13, 2011

So much has changed since 1963, when Betty Friedan's influential "The Feminine Mystique" provoked a national discussion about the deep dissatisfaction women were feeling about the limitations of their lives. Many women came ...

New approach to diagnosing anorexia nervosa

Jan 09, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- A new approach for diagnosing patients with anorexia nervosa has been developed at the University of Sydney. The approach could have a significant impact on the treatment and recovery of sufferers, as ...

Recommended for you

Obama addresses West Africans on facts about Ebola

9 hours ago

President Barack Obama urged West Africans on Tuesday to wear gloves and masks when caring for Ebola patients or burying anyone who died of the disease. He also discouraged the traditional burial practice ...

Gluten-free diet benefits asymptomatic EmA+ adults

9 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Asymptomatic individuals with endomysial antibodies (EmA) benefit from a gluten-free diet (GFD), according to a study published in the September issue of Gastroenterology.

Another US health worker infected with Ebola

9 hours ago

A third American health worker has tested positive for the Ebola virus while working with patients in West Africa, the Christian missionary group SIM said Tuesday.

UN implores all countries to help on Ebola

11 hours ago

The international group Doctor Without Borders warned Tuesday that the world is 'losing the battle' against Ebola, while U.N. officials implored all countries to quickly step up their response by contributing health experts ...

Travel restrictions could worsen Ebola crisis: experts

16 hours ago

Travel restrictions could worsen West Africa's Ebola epidemic, limiting medical and food supplies and keeping out much-needed doctors, virologists said Tuesday as the disease continued its deadly spread.

User comments