Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Throughout the years, men have been viewed as having few body appearance problems. However, recent research has begun to acknowledge the presence of body image issues with men. In particular, Muscle Dysmorphia (MD) is a disorder that has received attention in the last decade (Pope, Gruber, Choi, Olivardia, & Phillips, 1997; Olivardia, 2001). Many of the symptoms found in eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorder are similar to those seen in MD. The goal of this study is to create such an assessment tool for use in clinical settings. Pope et al. (1997) outlined and Olivardia (2001) refined the diagnostic criteria for MD. Individuals with MD believe that they are not muscular enough, and, ironically, many are more muscular than the average person. Persons with MD have a persistent preoccupation with their body shape that causes impairment or distress. Individuals with MD believe that they are smaller than they actually appear. Pope and Katz (1994) estimate that MD is found in 10% of weightlifters; however, this estimate is most likely an upper one. The goal of the present study was to create an inventory for assessing MD in men through an exploratory factor analysis. Using the etiological model set forth by Grieve (2005), the current study attempted to identify four main factors of MD and discuss the relationship of these factors to the etiological model. Participants were 304 men all over the age of 18, and the mean age of participants was 20.64. Each participant completed a 32-item demographics questionnaire, the 67-item Muscle Dysmorphia Inventory, and chose both a current and ideal body size from 18 body size pictures. An exploratory factor analysis was conducted in an attempt to reduce the number of items to a smaller and most effective assessment tool. Employing this method, the original 67-item scale was reduced to a 25-item scale with eight components. The resulting components include Inadequacy, Preoccupation, Compulsivity, Muscularity Drive, Increased Muscularity, Body Anxiety, Social Sacrifice, and Persistence. These components together demonstrated a thorough assessment of the diagnostic areas of MD, and they demonstrated important relationships to the four variables in the etiological model by Grieve (2005). The results of the present study have great implications for future research into Muscle Dysmorphia. The MDI can be analyzed again in this same method to obtain a measure of test-retest reliability. It can also be compared with other scales, such as the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS), the State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAXI), and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), to establish concurrent validity. Further research can be conducted on women to see if the current factor structure remains intact. In addition, a confirmatory factor analysis can be conducted by assessing men who have been diagnosed with MD. The implications of creating a diagnostic tool for MD are many. As the number of men with characteristics of MD increases, clinicians will be better equipped to diagnose and establish treatment plans. This research may also allow diagnosticians to identify sub-clinical levels of MD. This present study may also help identify individuals who are at risk to develop symptoms of MD.



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