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Appearance anxiety describes an apprehension about aspects of one's physical appearance and how others evaluate them. To date, research in this area has focused primarily on a female population. In light of recent evidence that men are becoming more concerned about matters of physical appearance, and are reporting a greater degree of negative body image than in previous generations, it was considered important to understand better the nature of this characteristic for men as well. A group (n=71) of college-aged men took part in the study. As hypothesized, appearance anxiety related inversely to physical activity participation, but this association was weak and was negated when percent body fat was entered as a covariate in the analysis. Results also indicated that appearance anxiety was predictive of self-reported distress during a body composition valuation, but that it failed to relate to a physiological measure of arousal/anxiety taken during the evaluation (viz. heart rate increase from baseline). Of further interest was the finding that nearly half the variance in appearance anxiety was accounted for by a measure of Upper Body esteem - a finding which is in accord with evidence that male body dissatisfaction is most pronounced for the chest and the waist. The fact that ultra-muscular mesomorphy is the current standard of male sexual attractiveness may go some way in explaining our findings.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 1993

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