The effects of internalized shame and self-blame on disordered eating and drive for muscularity in collegiate men

  • Brent Larison
  • Mary PritchardEmail author
Original Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Males and Eating and Weight disorders



The purpose of the present study was to explore the relative contributions of self-blame and internalized shame to variability in disordered eating and drive for muscularity scores in collegiate men.


One hundred and sixty-eight male college students in the Rocky Mountain region of the USA completed valid and reliable self-report survey measures: the Drive for Muscularity Scale, the Internalized Shame Scale, the Shame and Guilt Eating Scale to assess self-blame, and the Eating Attitudes Test. Cross-sectional data were analyzed through descriptive, correlation, and regression statistics.


Men who reported higher levels of self-blame, r = 0.39, p < 0.001, and internalized shame, r = 0.38, p < 0.001, also reported higher levels of eating disorder symptomology. Similarly, men who scored higher on internalized shame, r = 0.20, p < 0.01, reported higher scores on drive for muscularity. Regression analyses revealed that internalized shame was the sole contributor to variability in drive for muscularity scores, β = 0.20, p < 0.01, whereas both self-blame, β = 0.27, p < 0.001, and internalized shame, β = 0.24, p < 0.001, contributed to scores on disordered eating attitudes and behaviors in men.


Our study was the first to examine how internalized shame and self-blame relate to drive for muscularity and disordered eating in collegiate men. Our results suggest that both self-blame and internalized shame may contribute to disordered eating in men. Additionally, internalized shame appears to relate to drive for muscularity in men. Clinicians may wish to consider how they approach treatment given the potential contributions of internalized shame and self-blame to disordered eating in their male clients.

Level of evidence

Level V, cross-sectional descriptive study.


Collegiate men Drive for muscularity Eating attitudes test Internalized shame Self-blame 



There was no funding for this study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychological ScienceBoise State UniversityBoiseUSA

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