Body & Media Lab

Renee Engeln at Northwestern University

Body talk among college men: Contexts, correlates, and effects

Though researchers are beginning to examine body-related talk in women (often referred to as fat talk), little work has examined how men talk about their bodies with peers. The two studies presented in this article explore body talk among U.S. college men. First, an online survey examined the frequency with which college men engage in negative body talk, the content of these conversations, and the body image variables associated with engaging in this type of talk. Negative body talk in men was associated with drive for muscularity, eating disordered behavior, and appearance investment. Study 2 experimentally examined the effects of hearing male peers engage in negative body talk. Hearing muscle talk or fat talk caused decreased state appearance self-esteem and increased state body dissatisfaction. The correlates and consequences of negative body talk among men appear no less troubling than those identified among women.

Read More on ScienceDirect.