Towards a conceptual understanding of muscle dysmorphia development and sustainment

David Tod*, David Lavallee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In recent years muscle dysmorphia has attracted the interests of sport, exercise, and clinical psychologists, researchers, and the popular media. In this article we review muscle dysmorphia literature and propose a framework to advance knowledge about the condition's development and sustainment. Existing research is focused on social variables correlated with muscle dysmorphia (e.g., social support), and cognitions, emotions, and behaviours displayed by individuals with the condition (e.g., exercise dependence and steroid abuse). The proposed framework draws on the extant body image and body dysmorphic disorder literature to address gaps identified in current muscle dysmorphia knowledge. In particular, little attention has been given to mechanisms by which the condition develops and is sustained, and learning theory is proposed as one possibility. In addition to extending muscle dysmorphia knowledge, the framework is offered as a way to stimulate a range of investigations adding to current understanding. The inclusion of learning theory, for example, may provide insights leading to the identification of suitable treatments for people whose health and well-being has been reduced as a result of experiencing muscle dysmorphia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-131
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology
Volume3
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2010

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