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Masculinity and Muscle Dysmorphia in Mixed Gender Canadian Youth

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Abstract

Prior research has documented an association between conformity to masculine gender norms and muscle dysmorphia symptomatology. However, much of this research has been limited to samples of men. To address this important gap in the research, the aim of this study was to determine the association between conformity to masculine gender norms and muscle dysmorphia symptomatology among a gender-diverse sample of Canadian adolescents and young adults. Data from the Canadian Study of Adolescent Health Behaviors (N = 2,719) were analyzed. Regression analyses were used to estimate the association between conformity to masculine gender norms and muscle dysmorphia symptomatology, clinical risk for muscle dysmorphia, and lifetime anabolic-androgenic steroid (AAS) use, among the overall sample and stratified by gender. Conformity to masculine gender norms was positively associated with muscle dysmorphia symptomatology, clinical risk for muscle dysmorphia, and lifetime AAS use among the sample. Moreover, findings were similar among boys and young men, girls and young women, and transgender/gender-expansive participants. Findings underscore the relevance of masculine gender norms in relation to the pursuit of muscularity among adolescents and young adults. Future research is needed to explore the specific mechanisms underlying the link between conformity to masculine gender norms and muscle dysmorphia symptomatology across genders.

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Data may be made available upon reasonable request.

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Funding

This study was funded by the Connaught New Researcher Award (#512586) at the University of Toronto (KTG).

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Contributions

KTG: Conceptualization, Data curation, Formal Analysis, Funding acquisition, Investigation, Methodology, Project administration, Software, Writing – original draft, Writing – review & editing;NP: Conceptualization, Writing – original draft, Writing – review & editing; RFR: Conceptualization, Writing – original draft, Writing – review & editing; AT: Conceptualization, Writing – review & editing; SBM: Conceptualization, Writing – review & editing; JMN: Conceptualization, Writing – review & editing.

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Correspondence to Kyle T. Ganson.

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Ethics approval was obtained from the research ethics board at the University of Toronto (#41707).

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Informed consent was received by all participants.

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All authors report no conflicts of interest.

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Ganson, K.T., Pang, N., Rodgers, R.F. et al. Masculinity and Muscle Dysmorphia in Mixed Gender Canadian Youth. Sex Roles 90, 628–641 (2024). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-024-01469-y

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-024-01469-y

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