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Recently more men have reported a desire for larger, more muscular bodies. Muscle dysmorphia (MD) is a new syndrome in which individuals (usually men), although highly muscular, have a pathological belief that they are of very small musculature. As more men are motivated to take up training with weights in order to develop greater musculature, mare cases of MD are likely to be encountered. A greater understanding and awareness of the syndrome are therefore needed. Therefore the aim of this study was to investigate perceptions of physical self in male weightlifters, one group with MD (n = 24) and one without (n = 30). Between group comparisons were made using the multidimensional body-self relations questionnaire. The findings confirm the nature of the disorder in that those with MD syndrome have poorer body image and are less happy with their bodies. Moreover, in addition to a desire for greater muscularity, they are very concerned not to gain fat. The results also suggest that future research into perceptions of specific body parts and health is warranted.
Research evidence indicates that body dissatisfaction in men has increased in recent years and that the nature of this dissatisfaction is not so much a desire for smaller and thinner bodies, as is the case with women, but larger and more muscular ones. (2 3) One study (3) of men in Austria, France, and the United States found that their ideal bodies were about 28 lbs more muscular than their perceived actual bodies. The authors suggest that this discrepancy may be a contributing factor in the apparent rise in eating and body dysmorphic disorders, including muscle dysmorphia (MD), in men.
MD has been observed to be a condition that afflicts primarily men, although it can be present in women. (4) It is a unique form of body dysmorphic disorder where, instead of being pathologically dissatisfied with a single body part, the person is dissatisfied with their whole body. Those with MD, although often highly muscular, believe themselves to be of very small musculature. This belief leads them to become obsessed with exercising, particularly weightlifting, and at risk of misusing anabolic-androgenic steroids. People with MD …