Homophobic bullying victimization and muscle Dysmorphic concerns in men having sex with men: the mediating role of paranoid ideation

Abstract

Bullying victimization has several consequences for the psychological well-being of marginalized people, including body dysmorphic concerns and paranoid ideation, a relatively stable way of thinking characterized by suspiciousness and mistrust of others. Men who have sex with men (MSM) report a greater risk of homophobic bullying victimization (HBV), and previous research has indicated that MSM face a higher risk of body dysmorphic concerns, particularly in reference to their muscles. The aim of this study is to examine the association between HBV and muscle dysmorphic concerns in a sample of MSM, and to test the hypothesis that paranoid ideation mediates the association between HBV and muscle dysmorphic concerns. The sample consisted of 270 Italian-speaking MSM aged 18–64 years (M = 34.3; SD = 11.4). We administered an anonymous online questionnaire to collect data about sociodemographics, previous HBV experiences, muscle dysmorphic concerns and paranoid ideation using internationally validated instruments. Our results suggest that HBV positively predicts both higher levels of paranoid ideation and muscle dysmorphic preoccupation. Moreover, the results indicate that paranoid ideation is a mediator of the relationship between HBV and MD. Implications for research and clinical practice are discussed.

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Correspondence to Claudio Longobardi.

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Fabris, M.A., Badenes-Ribera, L., Longobardi, C. et al. Homophobic bullying victimization and muscle Dysmorphic concerns in men having sex with men: the mediating role of paranoid ideation. Curr Psychol (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-020-00857-3

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Keywords

  • Muscle dysmorphia
  • Body dysmorphic disorder
  • Homophobic bullying victimization
  • Paranoid ideation