This recent article by Nina Bahadur with the Huffington Post covers a recent study that links Muscle Dysmorphia and Male Anorexia to gender roles. With male eating disorders on the rise, studies like this will help in understanding the root causes for such disorders, in-turn assisting in the improvement of treatment for males who are suffering with anorexia, bulimia and muscle dysmorphia.
Muscle Dysmorphia And Male Anorexia Linked To Gender Role Endorsements, Study Finds
Men suffering from eating disorders are typically aiming for one of two things: to make themselves smaller, or to make themselves as muscular as possible, according to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. New research out of the University of Sydney investigates what causes that divergence — what makes men turn to anorexia or bulimia to make themselves smaller, versus the disordered eating and over-exercising behaviors that are seen in people with muscle dysmorphia?
One hypothesis is that these eating disorders are related to gender roles — that anorexia sufferers might be more likely to endorse “feminine” gender tropes like sexual fidelity, modesty, domesticity, and investment in appearance, whereas muscle dysmorphia sufferers might be more likely to endorse “masculine” gender tropes like risk-taking, winning, self-reliance and emotional control.
Clinical psychologists Stuart B. Murray. Elizabeth Rieger, Lisa Karlov and Stephen Touyz worked with 24 male anorexia nervosa patients, 21 male muscle dysmorphia patients and a control group of 30 gym-going men. They asked participants to complete four self-administered tests: the Conformity to Masculine Norms Inventory (CMNI), Conformity to Feminine Norms Inventory (CFNI), Muscle Dysmorphia Disorder Inventory (MDDI) — a questionnaire used to diagnose muscle dysmorphia — and the Eating Disorders Examination Questionnaire (EDE-Q).
The study, published Thursday in the Journal of Eating Disorders found that muscle dysmorphia sufferers reported “significantly greater adherence” to masculine gender roles when compared with anorexia sufferers and the control group. In turn, anorexia sufferers reported greater adherence to feminine gender roles than the muscle dysmorphia sufferers or the control group.
So, what does all this mean? In a press release Murray stated that the results do not indicate “that the men with anorexia were any less masculine, nor that the men with muscle dysmorphia were less feminine than the control subjects recruited. It is however an indication of the increasing pressures men are under to define their masculinity in the modern world.”
Fairwinds Treatment Center is a dual-diagnosis facility, specializing in male eating disorders. We treat both adolescent and adult male clients to recover from eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia and compulsive overeating. As a dual-diagnosis facility, we treat mental health issues as well including depression, anxiety and trauma, which can all play a roll in developing an eating disorder or muscle dysmorphia.
If you or someone you know is suffering from an eating disorder, take action and call our admissions department to discuss your situation. Call 727-449-0300 or contact via web here.