Sex Roles

, Volume 80, Issue 7–8, pp 443–457 | Cite as

Objectification, Masculinity, and Muscularity: A Test of Objectification Theory with Heterosexual Men

  • Christopher M. DavidsEmail author
  • Laurel B. Watson
  • Madeline P. Gere
Original Article


Objectification theory is increasingly used to explain the body image-related experiences of men because research indicates that men are at heightened risk for body image concerns because of sociocultural messages regarding appearance of the male body. Although researchers have explored body image concerns among men, it is important to understand various sociocultural correlates relating to their body image disturbances. Therefore, we introduced gender role conflict in the present study to better explain their drive for muscularity. Based on data from 473 heterosexual men in the United States, the proposed model demonstrated excellent data fit, although several of the paths were non-significant, suggesting mixed support for the utility of objectification theory in the context of men’s body image. Specifically, sexual objectification experiences did not uniquely predict self-objectification and body surveillance—key internalizing variables in the objectification theory framework—and these variables had multiple non-significant relationships with additional hypothesized variables. However, gender role conflict was significantly related to objectification theory variables, suggesting the importance of attending to this variable when understanding heterosexual men’s body image disturbances. A more parsimonious model—with non-significant paths removed—was also explored and demonstrated excellent data fit. Limitations, future areas of research, and practice implications are discussed.


Objectification theory Gender role conflict Drive for muscularity Masculinity Heterosexual men 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

We declare that we have no financial or non-financial conflicts of interest. In addition, our participants were provided with informed consent, detailing the risk and benefits of participating in this study. Only human subjects participated in this study.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyWestminster CollegeSalt Lake CityUSA
  2. 2.Department of Counseling & Educational PsychologyUniversity of Missouri-Kansas CityKansas CityUSA

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