Socio–environmental factors, objectified body consciousness and drive for muscularity in undergraduate men
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The display of the male body has recently become a common phenomenon in Western culture. The objectification of men is a new theoretical concept that originates from the more familiar concept of the perceived objectification, observation and evaluation of the female body (Fredrickson & Roberts, 1997). McKinley (as cited in Soban, 2006) terms this concept Objectified Body Consciousness (OBC). Past studies confirm that the concept of OBC may also be successfully applied to males (Grieve & Helmick, 2008; Tiggemann & Kuring, 2004), especially in relation to current cultural expectations for the male body (Grieve & Helmick, 2008; Soban, 2006). At an extreme level internalisation of the mesomorphic body shape as body ideal may lead to a Drive for Muscularity (DM; Grieve, 2007). Grieve and Helmick (2008) indicate that males who score high on objectification measures show higher incidences of DM. According to the socio–environmental theories of Grieve (2007) and McCabe and Ricciardelli (2004) males experience significant social pressures to achieve the muscular ideal. There is a scarcity of literature concerning body–image concerns and the muscular ideal within the South African male undergraduate population. This research was therefore exploratory in nature and aimed to determine whether undergraduate men with high levels of OBC differ significantly in DM from undergraduate men with low levels of OBC. In addition, the study investigated the existence of a correlation between OBC and DM and whether undergraduate men differ in DM in accordance with exposure to certain socio–environmental factors. The quantitative study employed a survey design (Mouton, 2001) and used the Objectified Body Consciousness Scale (OBCS; McKinley & Hyde, 1996) and the Drive for Muscularity Scale (DMS; McCreary & Sasse, 2000). A convenience sample of 278 undergraduate males (mean age = 19 years) was selected based on availability and readiness to partake in the study (Field, 2005). Participants were all males aged between 18 and 20 and residing on the North–West University Potchefstroom Campus. Results indicate that undergraduate men with either elevated or low levels of OBC do not differ in terms of their DM. No correlation exists between OBC and DM. A group of undergraduate men who read fitness and health–related magazines, participate in sport, exercise regularly and have used steroids and supplements in the past year was identified. This group presented with high incidences of Muscle Development Behaviour suggesting that they may be at risk of internalising an attitude of increasing muscularity that may result in DM.
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