Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Pressure To Be More Muscular May Lead Men To Unhealthy Behaviors

Date:
August 10, 2006
Source:
Ohio State University
Summary:
Women are not the only ones in American society who feel pressure to achieve the perfect body. New research suggests that men feel pressure to have muscular bodies, and that influence can lead some to symptoms of eating disorders, pressure to use steroids and an unhealthy preoccupation with weightlifting.

Women are not the only ones in American society who feel pressure to achieve the perfect body.

New research suggests that men feel pressure to have muscular bodies, and that influence can lead some to symptoms of eating disorders, pressure to use steroids, and an unhealthy preoccupation with weightlifting.

“Men see these idealized, muscular men in the media and feel their own bodies don't measure up,” said Tracy Tylka, author of the study and assistant professor of psychology at Ohio State University 's Marion campus.

“For some men, this can lead to unhealthy and potentially dangerous behaviors to try to reach that ideal.”

Tylka presented her research at a symposium August 10 in New Orleans at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association.

Of course, women have been pressured for decades to achieve a thin ideal, but this is a more recent phenomenon for men, Tylka said.

“Instead of seeing a decrease in objectification of women in society, there has just been an increase in the objectification of men. And you can see that in the media today,” she said.

To test how this emphasis on muscularity has affected men, Tylka studied 285 college men. She asked them a variety of questions to determine how much pressure to be muscular that they felt from family, friends, romantic partners and the media.

The findings showed that the more pressure the men felt, the more they felt they had to live up to the ideals.

“They start to believe that the only attractive male body is a muscular one. And when they internalize that belief, they judge themselves on that ideal and probably come up short, because it is not a realistic portrayal of men,” she said.

While other studies have suggested men can become preoccupied with their muscles, Tylka said this research shows men are also very worried about their body fat.

“Not only are men being targeted to be muscular, but they also feel they have to be very lean to show off their muscularity.”

And the more dissatisfied that men in the study felt with their muscularity and body fat, the more they engaged in unhealthy behaviors, findings showed.

For example, men who were not happy with their muscles were more likely to say that their weight-training schedule interfered with other parts of their life, that others think they work out too much, that they used protein supplements, and even that they thought about using steroids.

Men who were dissatisfied with their body fat were more likely to report symptoms of eating disorders, such as avoiding certain foods, being terrified about being overweight, and being preoccupied with a desire to be thinner.

Tylka said there is a difference between men who exercise and watch their diet for their health, and those who do so because they feel pressure to change their bodies.

“It is good to exercise, to lift weights, and to eat the foods that make your body function well,” she said.

“But it is not good to be preoccupied with gaining muscle mass. Those that are preoccupied are not working out to get healthier, they are working out to bulk up. They are not eating healthy, they are cutting out major food groups like carbohydrates and eating massive amounts of protein.”

While men in American society are feeling increasing pressures to achieve the perfect body, Tylka said women still get a disproportionate share of the pressure.

“Women still get objectified more than men, but men are feeling the pressure too.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ohio State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Ohio State University. "Pressure To Be More Muscular May Lead Men To Unhealthy Behaviors." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 August 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060810211521.htm>.
Ohio State University. (2006, August 10). Pressure To Be More Muscular May Lead Men To Unhealthy Behaviors. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060810211521.htm
Ohio State University. "Pressure To Be More Muscular May Lead Men To Unhealthy Behaviors." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060810211521.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) New research shows that women who suffer from PTSD are three times more likely to develop a food addiction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Corporal punishment in the United States is on the decline, but there is renewed debate over its use after Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins