“Do You Even Lift, Bro?” Objectification, Minority Stress, and Body Image Concerns for Sexual Minority Men

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Abstract

With a United States-based sample of 326 sexual minority men, the present study tested hypotheses derived from objectification theory (Fredrickson & Roberts, 1997), minority stress theory (e.g., Meyer, 2003), and prior research regarding men and body image (e.g., McCreary & Sasse, 2000). Specifically, we examined a path model wherein objectification constructs (internalized standards of attractiveness, body surveillance, body dissatisfaction, and drive for muscularity) and a minority stress variable (internalized heterosexism) were direct and indirect predictors of intention to use anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) and compulsive exercise. Results of the path model yielded adequate fit to the data. Regarding direct links, internalized heterosexism was correlated positively with internalized standards of attractiveness and related positively to body dissatisfaction, internalized standards of attractiveness related positively to drive for muscularity and body surveillance, and drive for muscularity related positively with intention to use AAS and compulsive exercise; internalized standards of attractiveness yielded a significant and positive indirect link to intention to use AAS through drive for muscularity. Implications of our findings, regarding the application and limitations of the objectification theory framework for research and practice with sexual minority men, are further discussed.

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