Organization

Victoria University

Project Description

An Internet Study: Relationship between men�s self-reported physical attributes, body image, self-esteem, and Internet dating.

Project Abstract

The majority of research treatments over the past several decades in the area of body image, evaluations of physical appearances, and implications of eating disorders, have focussed women. Little research has been carried out to determine how these variables affect males across the lifespan.

There has been some research examining eating, weight loss, and dieting patterns of male athletes. In addition, studies have examined the preoccupation with ideal body types and eating attitudes of young homosexual men. However, the body image and consequences of poor body esteem in general, population of men remains under-investigated. Studies of male body image have tended to base inquiry on female studies. This has resulted in inappropriate measures that do not allow a comprehensive evaluation and understanding of male body image.

Very few empirical studies have also assessed the association between men�s beliefs about their penis size and satisfaction with their penis, body image, or psychological wellbeing. Some studies have found that men�s global satisfaction with their genitals was linked to increased body satisfaction. If men believe that a large penis is the cultural ideal, self-perceived penis size may relate to men�s perception of their general physical attractiveness. Men with an actual or perceived larger-than-average penis may experience a confidence effect that might lead them to rate their body more positively.

A recent study proposed that people with poorer body image may be more likely to use the Internet as a means of dating and socialising due to the anonymity and control the Internet provides them. Given that first impressions during dating situations are largely dependent on physical attractiveness, individuals with low physical self-esteem may find it easier to use the Internet for dating and socialising purposes. The relationships between male body image, self-reported physical attribute, and preference for Internet dating have not been studied.

The aims of the present study are to determine the relationships between men�s self-reported physical attributes (muscularity and penis size), body satisfaction, self-esteem, the psychological implications of poor body image, and preference for Internet dating. 500 male participants will be recruited for this study. The participants will be requested to complete a questionnaire consisting of measures that have been specifically developed to examine male body image, perception of ideal male body types, self-esteem, and general psychological functioning. General demographic questions pertaining to their Internet use for dating purposes will also be asked. The results of this study will add to the knowledge base and make a contribution to the literature on male body image by improving on earlier studies, many of which examined male body image concerns from a perspective that mostly focused on female body image concerns.

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