No pain, no gains: Conformity to masculine norms, body dissatisfaction, and exercise dependence.

Nicholas Dawson, Joseph H. Hammer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Although exercise can facilitate physical and mental health, excessive exercise can be deleterious to men’s health. Although there is a wealth of research on the link between body image concerns and excessive exercise among women, this relationship remains understudied among men. In addition, gender role socialization’s role in excessive exercise remains overlooked. Therefore, the present study examined how body dissatisfaction (i.e., muscle and body fat dissatisfaction) may mediate the effect of conformity to specific masculine norms on self-reported exercise dependence (i.e., uncontrollable excessive exercise behavior that manifests in physiological and psychological symptoms) using a sample of 632 U.S. community men who were primarily White and heterosexual. Results indicated that muscle dissatisfaction, but not body fat dissatisfaction, mediated the effects of the norms of Winning, Violence, and Playboy on exercise dependence. Winning, Emotional Control, Risk-Taking, and Power Over Women also evidenced direct effects on exercise dependence. Implications for practice and the importance of testing the generalizability of this model across social locations are discussed. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)430-440
Number of pages11
JournalPsychology of Men and Masculinity
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Psychological Association


  • body image
  • exercise dependence
  • gender norms
  • masculinity
  • muscularity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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