Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name





Psychology, Social.




Although researchers have begun to study issues related to anabolic steroid use among males, similar studies focusing on legal muscle-building supplements are virtually non-existent. This is despite the likelihood that there are far more users of legal muscle-building supplements than users of anabolic-androgenic steroids. Given that supplements that purport to increase lean muscularity have not been found to be effective and may pose health risks to users, the identification of user characteristics and reasons for use are necessary in order to design education and prevention programs. Variables that have been studied with women in the context of eating pathology have not yet been studied with men, despite the parallels that have been drawn between males' desire for muscularity and females' desire for thinness. These variables include awareness and internalization of sociocultural ideals, frequency of social comparison, and teasing history. The present study sought to expand the existing literature by assessing the relationships between these variables and muscle-building supplement use. Ninety-eight males who met a minimum exercise requirement were administered: (a) queries regarding history of muscle-building supplement use; (b) the Multidimensional Body-Self Relations Questionnaire; (c) the Sociocultural Attitudes Towards Appearance Scale; (d) queries regarding frequency of social comparison; (e) queries regarding history of being teased for thinness, fatness, and weakness; and (f) the Eating Disorder Inventory. Participant groups included 35 non-users, 27 former users, and 36 current users. Current and former users' perceived muscularity was greater than that for non-users. Current users were reportedly more oriented towards fitness and health than non-users and were also reportedly teased for thinness as children more than non-users and former users. Perceived muscularity, reported orientation towards fitness and health and history of being teased for thinness were predictive of supplement use versus non-use. Orientation towards fitness and health was not predictive when former users were included. Males used muscle-building supplements in order to increase muscularity and strength. Non-users and former users believed they could achieve muscularity through diet and exercise and were concerned about health risks associated with supplement use, though cost was also highly prohibitive. Preliminary recommendations for education and prevention efforts were provided.Dept. of Psychology. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis2006 .K45. Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 67-07, Section: B, page: 4158. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 2006.