Advisor(s) - Committee Chair
Dr. Frederick G. Grieve (Director), Dr. Jacqueline Pope-Tarrence, Dr. Andrew Mienaltowski
Department of Psychology
Master of Arts
The goal of the current study was to examine the relationship between critical comments that men can recall others making about their bodies and their current level of Muscle Dysmorphia (MD) symptomotology. Participants (N = 118) were recruited via study board from a mid-Western university with a population of 20,674 students. The hypothesis of the current study was that men who can recall critical comments about their bodies will report more MD symptomotology than those who remembered no such comments. In addition, it was expected that out of those who recall critical comments, the more severe or threatening they remember the comment being, the more MD symptomotology they will report. In this study it was also expected that men who associate more negative emotions with the comment will have higher levels of reported MD symptomotology.
To evaluate the first hypothesis, an independent samples (-test was used. Results did not support this hypothesis, and no significant differences were found on MD symptoms between participants who recalled comments about their bodies and those who did not recall such comments. These results are not consistent with previous research that was conducted on women with eating disorders which found that female athletes with disordered eating habits were more likely to recall critical comments made about their bodies than women without disordered eating habits. Results supported the second and third hypotheses. Correlational analyses were conducted to determine if there was a relationship between how threatened a participant reported being from the critical comment made about his body and his current level of MD symptomotology. A significant correlation was found. A correlational analysis revealed that there was a significant relationship between associating negative emotions with the critical comment and having higher levels of MD symptomotology.
The participants in the study were asked to name who made the comment about their bodies. The most commonly named person was a friend, followed by a coach, and then a girlfriend. Additional tests showed that there was no significant correlation between how long ago the comment occurred and participants' levels of MD symptoms. However, there was a significant relationship between how well a person remembered the comment and his current level of MD symptomotology.
Results from this study extend on what is known about MD and the effects of criticism. Although there was no significant relationship between one's ability to recall critical comments made about his body and his current level of MD symptomotology, there was a significant relationship between finding the comment threatening and associating negative emotions with the comment, if one was reported, and one's current level of MD symptomotology.
One limitation of the study is that all of the data was gathered via self-report measures. Data may have been affected by poor recall by the participants as well as denial of symptoms. Also, all of the participants attended Western Kentucky University. There was little diversity in regards to age and race.
Cognition and Perception | Personality and Social Contexts | Psychology | Social Psychology
Menees, Lauren M., "Examining the Relationship between Criticism and Muscle Dysmorphia Symptomotology in Collegiate Men" (2010). Masters Theses & Specialist Projects. Paper 179.