TYPES OF SOCIAL COMPARISON AND MALE BODY ATTITUDES AMONG MEN WITH AND WITHOUT A HISTORY OF AN EATING DISORDER
Katherine A Thompson, TJ Raney, Anna M. Bardone-Cone
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, United States
Introduction: Little is known about how different types of social comparison relate to body image concerns of men. Methods: This study examined three types of comparison (body, eating, exercise) in relation to negative body attitudes among a pilot sample of men with and without a history of an eating disorder (n = 36 and n = 27, respectively). Participants completed online questionnaires assessing types of comparison and male body attitudes (total score and subscale scores for muscularity and body fat). Results: Controlling for the other types of comparison, only body comparison was significantly positively associated with the total negative body attitudes score among men with an eating disorder history (p = .001) and controls (p = .011). Regarding muscularity and body fat subscales, no type of comparison explained unique variance among controls (ps > .066). However, among men with a history of an eating disorder, body comparison explained significantly more variance in body fat attitudes (p = .001), and body (p = .003), eating (p = .012), and exercise comparison (p = .037) each explained a significant amount of unique variance in dissatisfaction with muscularity. Conclusions: Body, eating and exercise comparisons appear to be important factors related to muscularity among men with a history of an eating disorder, while body comparison is the most important type of comparison when assessing negative body attitudes among all men.