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This study examined the presence and experience of muscle dysmorphia among current and former steroid-using recreational bodybuilders. The Muscle Dysmorphia Inventory was given to 60 male participants, with 9 of these being interviewed to examine the predisposing factors, characteristics, and negative consequences of muscle dysmorphia comprising Lantz, Rhea, and Mayhew’s (2001) conceptual model. Quantitative results from the MDI data showed no significant differences between current and former steroid users in their experiences of muscle dysmorphia. In contrast, interviews suggested that former users appeared to be more susceptible to some of the characteristics of muscle dysmorphia, including physique protection and body distortion/dissatisfaction, which suggests perhaps a limitation in the amount of information that can be extracted from a questionnaire. These preliminary findings also raise concerns about the lack of a diagnostic tool available for the condition and are discussed in relation to Lantz et al.’s (2001) conceptual model.
Rebecca Davies and Dave Smith are with the Exercise & Sport Science Department at Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK. Kevan Collier is with Scientiam Ltd., UK.