Sex Roles, Vol. 51, Nos. 11/12, December 2004 (
Exposure to Muscular Male Models Decreases
Men’s Body Satisfaction
Lisa A. Lorenzen,
Frederick G. Grieve,
and Adrian Thomas
The current study was designed to examine the effect of exposure to muscular ideal bodies
on body satisfaction in men. College men (N = 104) at a medium-sized mid-south university
completed the Body Assessment (BA) scale, which measures body satisfaction, before and
after exposure to either muscular or nonmuscular advertisements. BA scores were examined
using a repeated measures (pre and post) ANOVA with muscularity of image (view images
of muscular men vs. view images of average men) as the between-participants factor. Results
indicated that men’s self-rated body satisfaction decreased after viewing images of muscular
men but did not change after viewing images of average men. Thus, it appears that men’s
body satisfaction may be inﬂuenced by exposure to brief images of muscular models. These
results are congruent with results of previous investigations of the effects of viewing images
of thin models on women’s body satisfaction.
KEY WORDS: body image; muscularity; body satisfaction.
One sociocultural factor that appears to inﬂu-
ence body satisfaction in both men and women is
the media. People are bombarded daily with their
culture’s stereotypical images of attractiveness from
magazines, television, ﬁlms, billboards, and other
electronic and print media. This constant exposure
to ideal body types (which are often quite unrealistic
for most individuals to obtain) can make individuals
more sensitive and conscious about their own bodies,
and can evoke comparisons between themselves and
unrealistic media images of thinness and/or muscu-
larity (Turner et al., 1997).
Although one might argue that media only
reﬂects what is prevalent in society, there is strong
evidence that exposure to idealized thin bodies via
magazines, television, and movies has deleterious
effects, especially in women. Women report that they
use models in magazines as a point of comparison for
Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Auburn University, Montgomery, Albama.
To whom correspondence should be addressed at Department
of Psychology, Western Kentucky University, 1 Big Red Way,
Bowling Green, Kentucky 42101; e-mail: email@example.com.
their own bodies (Richins, 1991). When women are
exposed to the culturally ideal thin body, they tend
to devalue their own bodies (Ogden & Mundray,
1996; Stice, Schupak-Neuberg, Shaw, & Stein, 1994;
Thompson & Stice, 2001) and experience negative
mood states such as, but not limited to, depression
(Cash & Henry, 1995). Many researchers have ex-
amined the effects of exposure to thin media images
on women with regard to such variables as body
dissatisfaction, negative affect, eating disorders,
mood state, and belief in gender stereotypes (e.g.,
Garber, 2000; Groesz, Levine, & Murnen, 2002;
Heinberg & Thompson, 1995; Lavine, Sweeney,
& Wagner, 1999; Lin & Kulik, 2002; Mills, Polivy,
Herman, & Tiggemann, 2002; Stice & Shaw, 1994;
Thompson & Heinberg, 1999; Turner et al., 1997).
Sufﬁce it to say, whereas the complex relationships
between exposure to media and body satisfaction are
not completely understood, the majority of research
in the area has focused on the effects that media
exposure to the ideal thin body type has on body
satisfaction for women.
For men, a much less voluminous and slightly
different pattern of research exists. Work in the area
2004 Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.