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Muscle dysmorphia: a new syndrome in weightlifters
  1. P Y L Choi1,
  2. H G Pope Jr2,
  3. R Olivardia2
  1. 1Department of Social Sciences, Loughborough University, Leicestershire LE11 3TU, UK
  2. 2Biological Psychiatry Laboratory, McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr Choi, School of Human Movement, Recreation and Performance, Victoria University, PO Box 14428, Melbourne, Victoria 8001, Australia;


Recently more men have reported a desire for larger, more muscular bodies. Muscle dysmorphia (MD) is a new syndrome in which individuals (usually men), although highly muscular, have a pathological belief that they are of very small musculature. As more men are motivated to take up training with weights in order to develop greater musculature, more cases of MD are likely to be encountered. A greater understanding and awareness of the syndrome are therefore needed. Therefore the aim of this study was to investigate perceptions of physical self in male weightlifters, one group with MD (n = 24) and one without (n = 30). Between group comparisons were made using the multidimensional body-self relations questionnaire. The findings confirm the nature of the disorder in that those with MD syndrome have poorer body image and are less happy with their bodies. Moreover, in addition to a desire for greater muscularity, they are very concerned not to gain fat. The results also suggest that future research into perceptions of specific body parts and health is warranted.

  • muscle dysmorphia
  • men
  • body image
  • musculature
  • MD, muscle dysmorphia
  • MBSRQ, multidimensional body-self relations questionnaire

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