The impact of social media on self-evaluations of men striving for a muscular ideal

Timothy M. Piatkowski, Katherine M. White, Leanne M. Hides, Patricia L. Obst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper describes an innovative approach combining a content analysis of commentary and images on a Facebook page with a thematic analysis of the subjective experience expressed in interviews of those impacted by the text and images. Interview participants were asked about their perceptions of the representation of the muscularity-focused identity on social media, including the specific Facebook page. Content analysis of the Facebook page comments showed that very muscular male images attracted predominantly negative feedback from the public, a trend supported by the interview participants. Thematic analysis of the interviews indicated that a negative social media representation and commentary can affect young men's self-esteem and increase body concern. Some men represented on the Page found it humorous, which could serve as a form of bonding for the muscularity-focused online community. Other young men acknowledged how harmful such negative feedback can be on their self-evaluations and body image, consistent with the sociocultural framework whereby negative representations can lead to increased body dissatisfaction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)725-736
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Community Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes


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