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Prevalence of muscle dysmorphia in adolescents: Findings from the EveryBODY study


Mitchison, D and Mond, J and Griffiths, S and Hay, P and Nagata, JM and Bussey, K and Trompeter, N and Lonergan, A and Murray, SB, Prevalence of muscle dysmorphia in adolescents: Findings from the EveryBODY study, Psychological Medicine pp. 1-8. ISSN 0033-2917 (2021) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press

DOI: doi:10.1017/S0033291720005206


Background: We sought to provide the first point prevalence estimates of muscle dysmorphia (MD), a form of body dysmorphic disorder characterized by a preoccupation with perceived insufficient muscularity, in adolescents.

Methods: Data were taken from a survey of 3618 Australian adolescents (11.172-19.76 years; 49.3% girls). Measures captured demographic characteristics, symptoms of MD and eating disorders, psychological distress and functional impairment. Diagnostic criteria for MD developed by Pope et al. (1997, Psychosomatics, 38(6), 548-557) were applied, entailing preoccupation with insufficient muscularity causing significant levels of distress or disability that cannot be better accounted for by an eating disorder.

Results: The point prevalence of MD was 2.2% [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.6-3.0%] among boys and 1.4% (95% CI 0.9-2.0%) among girls. Prevalence was not associated with gender (V = 0.031) or socioeconomic status (SES) (partial η2< 0.001), but was marginally associated with older age (partial η2 = 0.001). Boys with MD were more likely than girls with MD to report severe preoccupation with muscularity (V = 0.259) and a weight-lifting regime that interfered with their life (V = 0.286), whereas girls with MD were more likely to report discomfort with body exposure (V = 0.380).

Conclusions: While future epidemiological research using diagnostic interviews is needed to verify these estimates, the findings suggest that MD is relatively common from early to late adolescence. Gender differences in MD prevalence may be minimal; however, the symptom profile appears to diverge between boys and girls. These findings provide a platform for future, analytical research designed to inform clinical and public health interventions.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:adolescence, body image, eating disorder, epidemiology, gender, muscle dysmorphia
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Paediatrics
Research Field:Adolescent health
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health)
Objective Field:Adolescent health
UTAS Author:Mond, J (Dr Jon Mond)
ID Code:146579
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:13
Deposited By:UTAS Centre for Rural Health
Deposited On:2021-09-14
Last Modified:2022-08-25

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