A pinboard by
Tim Squirrell

I'm a PhD researcher at the University of Edinburgh, working on an ethnographic research project on a community centred around the Paleolithic diet and lifestyle. I also teach undergraduate Sociology and Social Policy.

In my spare time I spend a lot of my evenings and weekends at debating competitions, arguing in various seminar rooms around the continent. I also enjoy picking up heavy things and putting them down again.


Muscle Dysmorphia is a mental disorder often considered the opposite of Anorexia Nervosa

Muscle Dysmorphia (MD) is a newly recognised subtype of Body Dysmorphic Disorder, a mental illness characterised by an obsessive occupation with a particular aspect of one's appearance. Often referred to as "bigorexia", MD symptoms include a preoccupation with being small and underdeveloped, with too little muscle and too much fat.

The disease is increasingly common in men, and is particularly common amongst male bodybuilders, weightlifters and steroid users. Sufferers have only recently been taken seriously, in light of recent revisions to psychiatric diagnoses in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatric Disorders which recognise Body Dysmorphic Disorder as an illness of its own.

Sufferers often find that they become deeply distressed when they are unable to complete their exercise routine, and find themselves socially isolated due to a punishing workout schedule and inability to eat normal food, pushing them further out from family, friends and coworkers who may not understand their condition.

They may also find themselves turning to steroid use as a solution to their problems. They may obsessively count calories or macronutrients and spend excessive amounts of time in the gym, even when injured. They may also take care to cover themselves up with large, baggy clothing, even in warm weather, to hide their features, as well as compulsively checking their physique.

Recognition of MD is part of a trend towards understanding and attempting to take seriously mental illness in men, particularly with respect to male body image. The articles pinned to this board should give an idea of the kinds of experiences had by men with MD, as well as some of the psychiatry behind the disorder.


Psychometric evaluation of the muscle appearance satisfaction scale in a Mexican male sample.

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to determine whether the muscle appearance satisfaction scale (MASS) shows acceptable psychometric properties in Mexican bodybuilders.A total of 258 Mexican male bodybuilders were recruited. Two self-report questionnaires, including the MASS and drive for muscularity scale (DMS), were administered. Six models of the latent structure of the MASS were evaluated, using confirmatory factor analysis with maximum likelihood, considering robust Satorra-Bentler correction to estimate the fit of the models to the data.Similar to the original MASS, the series of CFA confirmed that the Mexican version was well represented with the 17-item five-factor structure, which showed a good model fit [Satorra-Bentler Chi-square (109, n = 258) = 189.18, p < 0.0001; NNFI = 0.91; CFI = 0.93; IFI = 0.93; RMSEA = 0.05 (0.04, 0.07)]. Internal consistency was estimated with McDonald's omega, which was acceptable for the MASS (0.88), and their subscales (0.80 to 0.89), except for muscle checking scale (0.77). Test-retest reliability analysis showed stability of the MASS total as well as of the subscale scores over a 2-week period (intraclass correlation coefficients = 0.75-0.91). Construct validity was demonstrated by a significant positive correlation between MASS and DMS results (r = 0.75; p = 0.0001). These results were similar to those of previous studies, which demonstrate the scale's usefulness.Our results support the suitability of the MASS and its subscales to measure muscle dysmorphia symptoms in Mexican male bodybuilders.

Pub.: 04 Mar '17, Pinned: 30 Aug '17

A randomized controlled trial of The Body Project: More Than Muscles for men with body dissatisfaction.

Abstract: Pressures for men to conform to a lean, muscular ideal have, in part, contributed to eating disorder and muscle dysmorphia symptoms, yet few programs have been developed and empirically evaluated to help men. This study investigated the acceptability and efficacy of a cognitive dissonance-based (DB) intervention in reducing eating disorder and muscle dysmorphia risk factors in men with body dissatisfaction.Men were randomized to a two-session DB intervention (n = 52) or a waitlist control condition (n = 60). Participants completed validated measures assessing eating disorder risk factors preintervention, postintervention, and at 1-month follow-up.Program ratings indicated high acceptability. The DB condition demonstrated greater decreases in body-ideal internalization, dietary restraint, bulimic symptoms, drive for muscularity, and muscle dysmorphia symptoms compared with controls (p values <.02; between-condition Cohen's d = .30-1.11) from pre- to postintervention. At one-month follow-up, the DB condition demonstrated significantly lower scores for all variables (p values <.03; between-condition d = .29-1.16). Body-ideal internalization mediated intervention outcomes on bulimic and muscle dysmorphia symptoms.Results support the acceptability and efficacy of The Body Project: More Than Muscles up to 1-month postintervention and should be examined against active control conditions.

Pub.: 10 May '17, Pinned: 30 Aug '17

A two-stage epidemiological study of eating disorders and muscle dysmorphia in male university students in Buenos Aires.

Abstract: Studies using traditional screening instruments tend to report a lower prevalence of eating disorders (EDs) in men than is observed in women. It is therefore unclear whether such instruments are valid for the assessment of ED in males. Lack of a formal diagnostic definition of muscle dysmorphia syndrome (MD) makes it difficult to identify men at risk. The study aimed to assess the prevalence of ED and MD in male university students of Buenos Aires.A cross-sectional, two-stage, representative survey was of 472 male students from six different schools in Buenos Aires, mostly aged between 18 and 28 years. The first stage involved administration of self-report questionnaires (Eating Attitude Test-26; scores ≥15 indicate "at risk" status). In Stage 2 students at risk of developing EDs were evaluated with a clinical interview, the Eating Disorder Examination (EDE; 12th edition). Two control students were interviewed for every at risk student.The prevalence of EDs among university male students was 1.9% (n = 9). All participants with an ED presented with illness classified as eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS). Using the Drive for Muscularity Scale (DMS) with a 52-point threshold we identified possible MD in 6.99% (n = 33) of the sample.The prevalence of ED detected in this study is comparable with previous findings in male populations, and below that observed in female populations. However, the prevalence of possible cases of MD resembles the total rate of EDs in women. Characteristics associated with EDs and MD in men are also discussed.

Pub.: 05 Sep '15, Pinned: 30 Aug '17

Young peoples' stigmatizing attitudes and beliefs about anorexia nervosa and muscle dysmorphia.

Abstract: The nature and extent of stigma toward individuals with anorexia nervosa and muscle dysmorphia remains underexplored. This study investigated attitudes and beliefs likely to be conducive to stigmatization of individuals with these conditions.Male and female undergraduate students (n = 361) read one of four vignettes describing a fictional male or female character with anorexia nervosa or muscle dysmorphia, after which they responded to a series of questions addressing potentially stigmatizing attitudes and beliefs toward each character.Characters with anorexia nervosa were more stigmatized than characters with muscle dysmorphia, female characters were more stigmatized than male characters, and male participants were more stigmatizing than female participants. A large effect of character diagnosis on masculinity was observed, such that characters with anorexia nervosa were perceived as less masculine than characters with muscle dysmorphia, and this effect was more pronounced among male participants. However, no significant corresponding effects were observed for femininity.Females with anorexia nervosa may be particularly susceptible to stigmatization, especially by males. Anorexia nervosa and muscle dysmorphia are perceived as "female" and "male" disorders respectively, in line with societal gender role expectations, and this stigmatization is tied more strongly to perceptions of sufferers' masculinity than femininity.

Pub.: 14 Nov '13, Pinned: 30 Aug '17