British Journal of Sports Medicine
Objectives: To investigate body image and psychosocial adjustment among competitive bodybuilders, non-competitive weight trainers, and athletically active men.
Methods: Participants were 40 men in each of the three groups who were assessed on body composition and multiple facets of body image evaluation, investment and anxiety, eating attitudes, and social self esteem.
Results: Relative to the other two groups, competitive bodybuilders had greater body mass due to fat-free body mass. Although groups did not differ in their situational body image discomfort, competitive bodybuilders and weight trainers had a more positive global appearance evaluation and were more psychologically invested in their physical appearance. Compared with active controls, men in both weightlifting groups were more satisfied with their upper torso and muscle tone. Competitive bodybuilders reported more mid torso satisfaction than the other two groups. Competitive bodybuilders also wished to be significantly heavier than controls did and reported higher social self esteem but greater eating disturbance.
Conclusions: The findings suggest that competitive bodybuilders as a group are not more "muscle dysmorphic'' than either non-competitive weight trainers or physically active men who do not train with weights.
Original Publication Citation
Pickett, T. C., Lewis, R. J., Cash, T. F., & Pope, H. G. (2005). Men, muscles, and body image: Comparisons of competitive bodybuilders, weight trainers, and athletically active controls. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 39(4), 217-222. doi:10.1136/bjsm.2004.012013
Pickett, T. C.; Lewis, R. J.; Cash, T. F.; and Pope, H. G., "Men, Muscles, and Body Image: Comparisons of Competitive Bodybuilders, Weight Trainers, and Athletically Active Controls" (2005). Psychology Faculty Publications. 77.