Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Date of Award

January 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name



Health Education

First Advisor

Jeffrey Martin


Body image has been a well established research topic in the field of sport and exercise psychology. However, most of the literature focuses on female body image and ignores male body image. It has been established by current literature that men react the same way as females when presented with pictures of the ideal body of the same sex; a negative body image affect. However, it is unknown in both females and males if this negative body image affect is a strong enough response to elicit a physiological stress response. This master's thesis serves as an explorative project to bridge the gap between body image and physiological stress response, and will subsequently add to the literature focusing on male body image. It was hypothesized that men viewing mock advertisements of ideal muscular male models paired with male centric products would experience a strong enough negative body image affect that it would increase their salivary cortisol levels when compared to men viewing mock advertisements of the same male centric products without an ideal muscular male model. The increase in salivary cortisol would thus demonstrate that a strong negative body affect can elicit a physiologic stress response. Thirty male participants were randomly assigned to either a control group that viewed male centric products (gaming systems, televisions, shaving products, etc.) alone and an intervention group that viewed the same products paired with a muscular male model. To measure changes in body image, five psycho-social scales were used, while salivary cortisol levels were measured to establish changes in physiological states. Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) of the data exhibited men viewing advertisements of male centric products paired with ideal muscular male models does not create a negative body image affect, thus a physiologic stress response was never obtained. Reasons for this include the intervention not being strong enough for the participants, obliviousness towards social standards of attractiveness in the participants creating a stable body image, the models being well known celebrities leading to less impact, and the small sample size. In conclusion, this explorative study signifies that men are developing more stable and healthier body images than previous research illustrates.

Included in

Kinesiology Commons