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Promoting healthy body image in college men: An evaluation of a psychoeducation program

Justin D Henderson, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Current psychological research indicates that men are increasingly dissatisfied with their bodies (e.g., McCabe & Ricciardelli 2004; Olivardia, Pope, Borowiecki, & Cohane, 2004). The consequences of body image concerns range from mild discontent (e.g., body dissatisfaction) to the more pathological (e.g., muscle dysmorphic disorder, steroid use, and eating disorders). College-age men are at particular risk of body image disturbances. Drawing from body image research and theory, a one session prevention intervention was designed for college men to address this growing concern. The prevention intervention was intended to serve as a preliminary step into men's body image prevention programming. The intervention was implemented within a large Midwestern university setting and was evaluated using a randomized control design. A mixed factorial analysis was used to determine what effect the program had on improving body image attitudes, self-objectification, and psychological distress. Results from the study indicated that the prevention intervention was effective at improving global body image attitudes, muscle satisfaction, and increasing media skepticism. Additionally, participants in the intervention exhibited a reduction in the internalization of the muscular-lean ideal, the athletic ideal, self-objectification, and general psychological distress at post-intervention. The intervention, however, did not influence men's attitudes about body fat or felt pressure from society to have the lean-muscular ideal. The implications and limitations of the study are presented as well as directions for future research.

Subject Area

Counseling Psychology|Clinical psychology|Gender studies

Recommended Citation

Henderson, Justin D, "Promoting healthy body image in college men: An evaluation of a psychoeducation program" (2012). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3516978.