Education and Human Sciences, College of (CEHS)


First Advisor

M. Meghan Davidson, Ph.D.

Date of this Version



Butchko, M. S. (2016). Repairing the Broken Mirror: Understanding Men's Muscularity-Focused Body Image Concerns Through the Lens of Gender Role Conflict and Self-Compassion. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln NE.


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Psychological Studies in Education (Counseling Psychology), Under the Supervision of Professor M. Meghan Davidson. Lincoln, Nebraska: October, 2016

Copyright (c) 2016 Michael S. Butchko


Psychological research pertaining to the study of men and masculinity has discerned that men are increasingly becoming dissatisfied with their bodies. However, men’s body image research has been neglected as researchers originally concluded that only women were impacted. However, the last 20 years has begun to elucidate factors and consequences of muscularity-focused body image dissatisfaction among men. Particularly, some men engage in dangerous behaviors (e.g., excessive exercise, dieting, steroid use) in order to obtain a body with large biceps, chiseled chest, and defined abdominal muscles. Also, more men are experiencing characteristics of muscle dysmorphia (MD), a subtype of body dysmorphic disorder, in which they believe that they are not big enough and continue to abuse steroids, excessively exercise, engage in body checking behaviors, and sacrifice work/life balance and interpersonal relationships. Although there is an increase in men with negative body image and symptoms indicative of muscle MD, there has been scant literature examining factors that precipitate and mitigate body dissatisfaction, drive for muscularity, and MD characteristics. Therefore, the current dissertation study examined a mediation model associating conformity to traditional masculine norms with body dissatisfaction, drive for muscularity, and MD characteristics, identifying both gender role conflict and self-compassion as mediators of this relation. A total of 154 college-aged heterosexual men completed counterbalanced measures pertaining to the aforementioned constructs and results suggested that gender socialization (i.e., traditional masculine ideology and GRC) was positively related to body dissatisfaction, drive for muscularity, and MD characteristics. Also, self-compassion was found to be negatively related to body dissatisfaction, drive for muscularity, and MD characteristics. However, both self-compassion and GRC did not mediate the relationship between traditional masculine ideology and body dissatisfaction, drive for muscularity, and MD characteristics. Implications for mental health practitioners and researchers, limitations of the study, and directions for future research are provided.

Advisor: M. Meghan Davidson