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Relative strength of the associations of body fat, muscularity, height, and penis size dissatisfaction with psychological quality of life impairment among sexual minority men

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-19, 20:46 authored by Griffiths, S, Murray, SB, Mitchison, D, Castle, D, Jon MondJon Mond
To date, there is scant research on whether different domains of male body dissatisfaction vary in the strength of their relationships with psychological well-being. This paucity also extends to sexual minority men (i.e., men who report their sexual orientation as gay or bisexual). Thus, among sexual minority men, we examined the relative strength of the associations of four key male body dissatisfaction domains- body fat, muscularity, height, and penis size - with psychological quality of life impairment. A geographically representative sample of 2,733 sexual minority men completed a self-report survey, which was advertised nationwide across Australia and New Zealand to users of a popular geosocial-networking smartphone application. Participants completed a measure of psychological quality of life in addition to measures of body fat, muscularity, height, and penis size dissatisfaction. Results indicated that increased dissatisfaction with each domain of male body dissatisfaction was uniquely associated with psychological quality of life impairment. The strongest relationship with quality of life impairment was observed for muscularity dissatisfaction (effect size small to medium), followed by dissatisfaction with body fat (small), height (small), and penis size (very small). These relationships were not moderated by participants’ sexual orientation (exclusively gay vs. bisexual), cultural background, or relationship status. The findings emphasize the need to prioritize research on muscularity dissatisfaction and related psychopathology, a category inclusive of muscularity-oriented disordered eating, muscle dysmorphia, and anabolic steroid misuse and dependence. Contrary to common disparaging stereotypes about men and their body image concerns, penis dissatisfaction was relatively uncommon and evidenced the weakest association with quality of life impairment.


Publication title

Psychology of Men & Masculinity








School of Health Sciences


American Psychological Association

Place of publication

United States

Rights statement

Copyright 2018 American Psychological Association

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  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Mental health

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