Adolescent Boys are at Risk for Body Image Dissatisfaction and Muscle Dysmorphia

  • Karen M. Skemp Department of Health Education Health Promotion, University Wisconsin-La Crosse
  • Renae L. Elwood Clinical Mental Health & Addiction Counseling, Counselor Education Department
  • David M. Reineke Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University Wisconsin-La Crosse


Background and Purpose: Muscle Dysmorphia (MD) is characterized by extreme body dissatisfaction and a drive for muscularity that leads to compulsive behaviors to attain an ideal body shape. The primary purpose of this study was to assess the level of body image dissatisfaction (BID) among male adolescents (N = 149, mean age = 15.01 + 1.85 y and mean BMI = 23.26 + 5.01 kg/m2 ) and whether or not BID was correlated with behaviors associated with MD. A secondary purpose was to examine if a difference exists between athletes and non-athletes. Methods: The Eating Attitude Survey (EAS) was used to assess attitudes toward body weight and shape while the Muscle Dysmorphia Inventory (MDI) was used to assess the behavioral and psychological characteristics of MD. Results: This sample of male adolescents indicate some level of BID, which is also associated with overall higher scores for all subscales of the MDI, but especially the subscales relating to muscularity. Athletes in particular showed higher levels of BID and higher scores on the MDI. Conclusion: Individuals who work with adolescent boys should be aware that they can develop body dissatisfaction and may participate in compensatory behaviors that may be harmful to their overall health and development.
How to Cite
Skemp, K. M., Elwood, R. L., & Reineke, D. M. (2019). Adolescent Boys are at Risk for Body Image Dissatisfaction and Muscle Dysmorphia. Californian Journal of Health Promotion, 17(1), 61-70.