Go big or go home: A thematic content analysis of pro-muscularity websites

Stuart B. Murray*, Scott Griffiths, Leila Hazery, Tori Shen, Tom Wooldridge, Jonathan M. Mond

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    56 Citations (Scopus)


    Existing content analyses of pro-eating disorder web content have focused on thinness-oriented eating disorder pathology. With the increasing prevalence of muscularity-oriented body image concerns, we conducted a systematic content analysis of 421 active pro-muscularity websites including static content websites, blogs, and online forums. Emergent coding methods were utilized (Cohen's kappa range = .78-.88), and eight distinct thematic categories were identified: rigid dietary practices (26.2%), rigid exercise rules (18.4%), the broader benefits of muscularity (16.1%), the encouragement of the drive for size (15.9%), the labeling of non-ideal body (11.4%), marginalizing other areas of life (6.1%), muscle enhancing substances (3.3%), and minimizing medical risk (2.6%). Pro-muscularity websites provide explicit material surrounding potentially non-healthful muscularity-oriented eating and exercise practices. Clinician awareness of the potentially non-healthful behaviors involved in the pursuit of muscularity may enhance the detection and treatment of male eating disorders, in particular.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)17-20
    Number of pages4
    JournalBody Image
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016


    • Male eating disorders
    • Muscle dysmorphia
    • Muscularity
    • Muscularity-oriented eating


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