Pursuing an ideal model of absolute physical perfection is not only a female attitude; the culture of the image has spread equally among women and men, nowadays. The benefits of physical activity have been extensively described in medical literature; nevertheless, excess exercise may lead to compulsive training patterns, even making people feel self-constrained to exercise. Some clinical research demonstrates that Muscle Dismorphia corresponds to the male-equivalent of Anorexia Nervosa. Authors present to pieces of research, performed one 17 years after the other, involving, both the first and in the second study, a population of a 200 male university students, aged between 18 and 28, assiduous fitness centre goers (experimental group), and a sample of the same number of young males who do not practice exercise in gyms (control group). Two questionnaires were issued to both groups: the Fava and Kellner Attitudes Toward Self Scale (ATS) to investigate the perception of self-body image perception, and Garfinkel and Garner Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI) about the eating behaviour. Results have shown that subjects who spend many hours per week in the gym, have a poor self-approval and have a relatively high risk to turn into eating disorders. The same trial was replicated 17 years later: no pathology was observed in the assiduous gym goers, and this seems to be in line with the trend of the last 3 decades, during which gym exercise has developed from a mere body building activity into a more self-oriented "wellness" culture.
Keywords: Body dismorphic disorder, male body image disorder, eating disorder, exercise, muscle dismorphia
Daila Capilupi, Elena Tomba, Roberta Gallo, Cecilia Trevisani, Silvio Lenzi, Body Image and Eating Behaviour in Males: an empirical study Many Authors consider Body Image Disorders as risk factors for the onset of Eating Disorders in "QUADERNI DI PSICOTERAPIA COGNITIVA" 38/2016, pp. 42-52, DOI:10.3280/QPC2016-038004