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

Sri Lanka celebrates two years without malaria

1 hour ago

Sri Lanka has not reported a local case of malaria since October 2012, according to the Sri Lankan Anti-Malarial Campaign. If it can remain malaria-free for one more year, the country will be eligible to apply to the World ...

Poll: Many doubt hospitals can handle Ebola

5 hours ago

A new poll finds most Americans have some confidence that the U.S. health care system will prevent Ebola from spreading in this country, but they're not so sure their local hospital can safely handle a patient.

Number of Ebola cases nears 10,000

5 hours ago

The number of people with Ebola is set to hit 10,000 in West Africa, the World Health Organization said, as the scramble to find a cure gathered pace.

'Breath test' shows promise for diagnosing fungal pneumonia

6 hours ago

Many different microbes can cause pneumonia, and treatment may be delayed or off target if doctors cannot tell which bug is the culprit. A novel approach—analyzing a patient's breath for key chemical compounds made by the ...

User comments