Psychology Ph.D. Dissertations


Physical and Psychological Correlates of the Drive for Muscularity: Gender and Grade Differences

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Advisor

Dara Musher-Eizenman, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Robert Carels, Ph.D. (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Lynn Darby, Ph.D. (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Catherine Stein, Ph.D. (Committee Member)


Although recent research has begun to examine body image and exercise concerns in men, boys and girls of all ages have largely been neglected. The present study sought to expand previous research examining the drive for muscularity and various physical and psychological variables to boys and girls of difference developmental stages. Participants included boys and girls in grades four, seven, and ten, and college freshmen from a medium-sized city in Western Canada. Results suggest that many potentially harmful physical and psychological body image, eating, and exercise beliefs and practices peak around tenth-grade though are clearly present among fourth-graders. Furthermore, boys and girls with a greater drive for muscularity possess similar psychological profiles which include engaging in potentially detrimental exercise and eating practices. The findings point to the importance of assessing the drive for muscularity, body image, eating attitudes, and exercise concerns and practices in both boys and girls of various ages.