"Who Pushes You to Be Bigger?": Psychosocial Correlates of Muscle Dissatisfaction Among Chinese Male College Students in Hong Kong

Nelson C. Y. Yeung*, Karlijn Massar, Kai Jonas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Web of Science)

Abstract

Western studies suggest that perceived pressure from family members, peers, and the media to achieve muscularity ideals are associated with higher muscle dissatisfaction and that such associations are mediated through different psychological processes. However, how such findings apply to young Chinese men has not been explored. Using an online survey, this study examined if perceived pressure from family, peers, and the media to achieve muscularity ideals was associated with muscle dissatisfaction among 319 male college students in Hong Kong and investigated the potential mechanisms explaining such associations (social comparison, uncompassionate self-responding, and body surveillance). Structural equation modeling results indicated that pressure from peers was associated with higher muscle dissatisfaction through increased uncompassionate self-responding (β = 0.05, 95% confidence interval [CI] [0.01, 0.09]). Pressure from the media was associated with higher muscle dissatisfaction through increased social comparison (β = 0.12, 95% CI [0.01, 0.22]) and uncompassionate self-responding (β = 0.05, 95% CI [0.01, 0.09]). Contrary to our hypotheses, pressure from family members was not associated with muscle dissatisfaction and the mediating psychological processes. Moreover, the direct effect from perceived peer pressure to muscle dissatisfaction remained significant after considering the mediators (β = 0.18, 95% CI [0.02, 0.33]). The mediation models were supported by satisfactory model fit indices. This study revealed that different sources of muscularity-related pressure were associated with Chinese male college students’ muscle dissatisfaction through varied psychological processes. Practitioners may consider different intervention strategies to reduce the potential impacts of peer and media pressures on muscle dissatisfaction among young Chinese men
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-188
Number of pages12
JournalPsychology of Men & Masculinity
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021

Keywords

  • muscle dissatisfaction
  • social comparison
  • uncompassionate self-responding
  • body surveillance
  • tripartite influence model
  • BODY-IMAGE
  • SELF-COMPASSION
  • SOCIOCULTURAL ATTITUDES
  • PSYCHOMETRIC PROPERTIES
  • OBJECTIFICATION THEORY
  • SOCIAL MEDIA
  • MUSCULARITY
  • INTERNALIZATION
  • VALIDATION
  • DRIVE

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