Department of Psychology
Master of Arts
Over the past decade, there has been an increase in research and concern over body image and body attitudes in both clinical and community settings (Sondhaus, Kurtz, & Strube, 2001). Historically, body image has been thought to be more important to women than to men. However, recently male body image has begun to increase in importance. Over the past few decades, men have been facing increased societal pressure, concerning the type of body that they should have. One such way that pressure is manifested is through muscle dysmorphia, and a potential influence on muscle dysmorphia is self-concept. Self-concept may interact with muscle dysmorphia through the changes that people want to make about themselves. Within self-concept people may want to change a great deal about themselves and the way that they are currently (actual self) in order to achieve what they see as a better (ideal) self. The goal of the present study was to examine how men's self concept relates to body satisfaction and symptoms of body dysmorphia. The current study hypothesized that those individuals with a greater discrepancy between their actual and ideal selves will also have lower body satisfaction. The study also hypothesized that as the discrepancy between actual and ideal selves increases, men will report higher symptoms of body dysmorphia. Participants were 124 men all over the age of 18. The mean age of participants was 20.15. The participants completed a Demographics Questionnaire, the Dysmorphia Inventory (DI), the Body Assessment (BA), and the Self-Concept Questionnaire (SCQ). Linear regressions were performed to examine the relationship between body satisfaction and self-concept. A second set of linear regressions was also performed that focused on specific items that were selected from the SCQ. Results supported the first hypothesis; men's body satisfaction decreased as the discrepancy between their actual and ideal selves increased. This supported hypothesis supports research suggesting that the way people perceive their bodies and their level of satisfaction with their bodies is related to their self-concept and how they see themselves as an entire being. The second hypothesis predicted that as the discrepancy between actual and ideal selves increased, men would report higher symptoms of body dysmorphia and lower levels of body satisfaction. This hypothesis was also supported, with men reporting higher symptoms of body dysmorphia and lower levels of body satisfaction as the discrepancy between actual and ideal selves increased. The suggestion is that men who have more symptoms of body dysmorphia want to change more about themselves in general and want to strive to achieve their ideal self. The present study is important because a greater understanding of the relationship between body attitude/satisfaction and self-concept could help in designing effective interventions for such clinical problems as eating disorders and poor body attitude (Sondhaus, Kurtz, & Strube, 2001). This study may help initiate treatment for individuals who have body image problems or disorders, which focuses on the entire individual and self-concept and not simply on the body image problems and symptoms.
Moyers, Sheena, "Actual and Ideal Self Discrepancy and Body Satisfaction" (2005). Masters Theses & Specialist Projects. Paper 465.