A systematic review of the drive for muscularity research area

Christian Edwards, David Adrian Tod, Gyozo Molnar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Citations (SciVal)


The purpose of the current article was to perform a systematic review of 52 studies in which the drive for muscularity (DFM) has been measured. We included all the papers we found published from 2000 until May 2012. Variables most consistently related to DFM are (1) gender, with males reporting higher levels than females; (2) anxiety and body shame; (3) perceptions that the ideal physique involves high muscularity; (4) behaviours associated with increasing muscularity, including dietary manipulation and resistance training; and (5) the internalisation of a muscular physique as the standard to which to aspire. The DFM was inconsistently correlated with self-esteem, physical characteristics and actual-ideal discrepancies. Research has focused on white male students and been cross-sectional and descriptive. Further theory-driven work is needed with a wider range of populations to enhance the conceptualisation, measurement and understanding of the DFM.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-41
JournalInternational Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology
Issue number1
Early online date11 Nov 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • body image
  • drive for muscularity
  • males


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