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© 2011 American Psychological Association 1524-9220/11/$12.00 DOI: 10.1037/a0024839
Drive for Muscularity and Conformity to Masculine Norms Among College Football Players
Jesse A. Steinfeldt
Garrett A. Gilchrist
Paciﬁc Lutheran University
Aaron W. Halterman and Alexander Gomory
Matthew Clint Steinfeldt
Fort Lewis College
With sociocultural norms in American culture suggesting that muscularity is associated with masculinity, men often strive for a muscular physique. Because the psychological research on this drive for muscularity has focused primarily on negative outcomes, our mixed-method study intended to assess the contextual nature of this dynamic by examining muscularity within a functional context (e.g., sport). We assessed the experiences of 197 college football players who operate in this “masculinized” context (e.g., Richman & Shaffer, 2000) where muscularity is viewed functionally (i.e., maximizing athletic performance, minimizing injuries). Quantitative results indicated that athletic identity and certain traditional masculine norms (i.e., risk taking, emotional control, primacy of work) were signiﬁcantly related to the drive for muscularity among college football players. Qualitative results indicated that football players primarily cited reasons for their desire to be muscular that were related to athletic functioning, while also acknowledging social beneﬁts of external gratiﬁcation (e.g., physical appearance, conformity, sex appeal) that are more prominent in the drive for muscularity literature. Results of this contextual examination were interpreted within existing theoretical frameworks of social comparison theory, masculinity socialization, and drive for muscularity. Keywords: Conformity to Masculine Norms Inventory-46, student-athletes, NCAA intercollegiate sports, masculinity socialization, male body image, mixed-methods study
Muscularity, which is often equated with masculinity (e.g., Helgeson, 1994), is highly emphasized within American society. The pairing of these distinct yet related constructs can contribute to psychological distress as men so-
This article was published Online First August 8, 2011. Jesse A. Steinfeldt, Aaron W. Halterman, and Alexander Gomory, Department of Counseling and Educational Psychology, Indiana University-Bloomington, Garrett A. Gilchrist, Counseling Center, Paciﬁc Lutheran University, Matthew Clint Steinfeldt, Department of Athletics, Fort Lewis College. We thank Dr. Joanne Ito and Julie LaFollette for their editing efforts and suggestions to strengthen the manuscript. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Jesse A. Steinfeldt, Indiana UniversityBloomington, Bloomington, IN 47401. E-mail: jesstein@ indiana.edu 324
cially compare themselves to other men, attempting to conform their bodies to meet sociocultural expectations of what it means to be a man (Festinger, 1954; McCreary, Saucier, & Courtenay, 2005; Mussap, 2008; Smolak & Murnen, 2008). Recent research has examined the psychological dimensions of men’s drive for muscularity, but much of this empirical research has focused on nonathletic populations (Gilchrist, 2008; McCreary, Saucier, & Courtenay, 2005; Pope, Phillips, & Olivardia, 2000). Furthermore, studies involving athletes have focused primarily on negative outcomes associated with the drive for muscularity (e.g., Davis, Karvinen, & McCreary, 2005; Harrison & Bond, 2007; Labre, 2002; Morrison, Morrison, & Hopkins, 2003; Olivardia, Pope, Borowiecki & Cohane, 2004; Ridgeway & Tylka, 2005;
For example. Liu & Iwamoto. Masculinity and Athletic Identity in Football A young man’s emerging conceptualization of masculinity is often inﬂuenced by organized athletic activities within the subculture of sports (Abell & Richards. masculine norms are often communicated to men when they see how other men act (Kahn. Locke & Mahalik. Mansﬁeld. As it relates to social comparison theory. & Syzdek.g. 2004). 2001. 2006). 2009).. Identiﬁcation with the athlete role is not inherently problematic. an exclusive focus on the negative aspects of muscularity may not fully reﬂect dynamics of the drive for muscularity that operate within the unique context of sport (Steinfeldt. Locke. & Walker. & Linder. academic. to perform better in sport. However. greater endorsement of rape myths and more sexually aggressive behavior. & Brewer. 1996). 1996). An overly . to avoid injuries). Using quantitative methods. social. Our second goal was to use qualitative methods to provide greater depth of understanding about the unique beliefs and experiences of college football players who strive to be muscular.. 2001). our ﬁrst goal was to determine if conformity to masculine norms and athletic identity contributed to higher levels of drive for muscularity among college football players.. Talmadge. 1993. These men operate within a context that provides unique messages about masculinity. 1996. Petitpas. football players) whose experiences have not been represented in muscularity research. However. Subsequently. & Steinfeldt. This athletic identity can be conceptualized as the combination of cognitive. Social gender role norms are the unwritten rules that govern masculine and feminine behavior in society (Cialdini & Trost. more health risk behaviors and fewer health promotion behaviors. research has demonstrated that conforming to masculine norms can have a negative impact on men (e. Many athletes who persist in sport over time tend to develop a strong identiﬁcation with the athlete aspect of their emerging selfidentity (Brewer & Cornelius. 1999). Benton. 2005. Mahalik.. Addis. 1954) suggests that individuals evaluate themselves based on comparing themselves to others. Conforming to traditional masculine norms has both beneﬁts and costs for men (Mahalik. Murphy et al. 2010).e. college football players) for whom muscularity serves a functional purpose (e. A framework that explains how men internalize sociocultural messages that impact how they perceive their bodies. and social aspects relating to identiﬁcation with the role of athlete (Brewer.e.g. 2005). Brewer & Cornelius. masculine gender role norms provide strong messages about what it means to be a man (Addis & Mahalik.g. but it can contribute to negative outcomes if an overly salient athletic identity forecloses exploration of other aspects of self-identity (i. behavioral. 1998. 2004. men often come to learn what behavior is associated with being masculine through many contextual expectations– both explicit and implicit–that inﬂuence conformity to these normative messages (Mahalik et al. Murphy. Levi-Minzi.. Carter. Van Raalte. & Scott.. We hoped to contribute to our understanding of the contextual nature of masculinity by highlighting the experiences of a group of men (i. Olivardia et al. as well as requirements for muscularity that may differ from men who do not participate in the contact sport of football. Furthermore. increased binge drinking. social comparison theory (Festinger..” and investigations into this socialization process need to address the different contexts in which these messages are conveyed (e.e. Speciﬁcally.. Social Comparison Theory and Conformity to Masculine Norms Contextual inﬂuences on muscularity contribute to men’s perceptions about what it means to be a man and what they need to do to their bodies in order to conform to these sociocultural expectations. the purpose of our mixedmethod study was to contextually examine muscularity and masculinity by investigating the experiences of a group of men (i. conforming to masculine norms can beneﬁt a man by facilitating his acceptance into social groups and by providing both social and ﬁnancial rewards (Mahalik et al. Franzoi & Koehler. 2005). 2011a). Ricciardelli & McCabe. 2003). As a result. 2007. 2003). these social comparisons can be inﬂuenced by social norms. affective.SPECIAL SECTION: DRIVE FOR MUSCULARITY 325 Smolak & Stein.. 2007).. Men are inundated with sociocultural messages that tell them “what it means to be a man.
Conversely. 1984. bouncers.. particularly the goal of physical domination of one’s opponent (Messner. Maier & Lavrakas. Gruber. muscle dysmorphia. The drive for muscularity has been found to be more prevalent in men who tend to desire a muscular mesomorphic shape (Dixson. in press).. & Borowiecki. Tusek. Steinfeldt & Steinfeldt. In this contact sport. admiration. Wellard. 2011a). Vaughan. 2005).. the unique context of football provides men with socialization experiences that can contribute to their development of an emerging sense of self. 2000). 2003. body guards. Ridgeway & Tylka. & Stone. muscularity can serve the functional . 2008. 2009. & Steinfeldt. 1999). Perry. men tend to view larger muscles as something that is necessary for increased strength.e. Despite emerging empirical support for this connection and the need for athletes to be muscular in order to be successful in their respective sports (Messner. 1997).g. particularly as it relates to how they desire to achieve muscularity. & Holbrook. 1984). including body image issues (e. Leon. Lindner. Men who play contact sports often conceptualize their bodies as functional entities by endorsing a “body-as-process” perspective (i.. Steinfeldt. utility). Cafri et al. & Speight. Conveying strength and power with the intent of causing others to feel intimidated and fearful is a beneﬁcial purpose of muscularity for men in certain occupational contexts (e. Olivardia. Halliwell. researchers have identiﬁed a number of costs to the pursuit of muscularity. 2010. The drive for muscularity is deﬁned by McCreary and Sasse (2000) as “attitudes and behaviors that reﬂect the degree of a person’s preoccupation with increasing their muscularity” (p. Lavallee. Olivardia. In this context.326 STEINFELDT. players use their bodies as weapons to achieve their goals.. in addition to gaining muscle. a muscular body can be viewed as a powerful expression of masculinity that elicits respect.. Pope. 1990). 2001). in reference to Adonis. & East. there is a dearth of research examining the relationship between athletic identity and muscularity. definition/tone. Thus. 2000.. but also an occupational and contextual necessity. shape. & Faganel. 1993). 2002). & Pope. Cohn. 1995. speed. results suggest differences between genders in the process by which men and women view their bodies. state patrol ofﬁcers. but rather to increase muscle deﬁnition (Andersen. 1999). 1997) and a host of other physical and psychological risks (e. Thus. viewing the body as a machine whose instrumentality is more important than aesthetics. Morgan.. Gilchrist. 2002.g. Olivardia. while it is important to examine costs associated with muscularity. 1995). England. anxiety (Masten. Choi. Raudenbush & Meyer. there is a dearth of research examining the experiences of men for whom muscularity represents not only a socially desirable quality.g.g. 2000). 2006).e. strength. Rutkowski. & Gordon. GILCHRIST. 2011. Drive for Muscularity in Football Research on body image and drive for muscularity among male college athletes suggests that their concept of muscularity is multidimensional (i. Discrepancies between actual and ideal muscularity often motivate this drive (Leit. As a beneﬁt to muscularity. both as an athlete and as a man. 2009) and greater conformity to masculine norms (Steinfeldt & Steinfeldt. However. within the unique context of football. McCreary & Saucier. 300). & Klump. the mythical Greek god who embodied the ideal of masculine beauty and was desired by all women (Pope et al. Andersen. and even envy from others (Olivardia. Franzoi. Steinfeldt. HALTERMAN. Pope. desire for muscular size. 1990. social physique anxiety.g. 2003. Steinfeldt et al. GOMORY. Corresponding to recent attention paid to women’s drive for muscularity (e. This ideal of lean muscularity encourages men to lose body fat while increasing muscle size and deﬁnition (e. 2009. and poor academic performance (Lewis. This dynamic has been referred to as the Adonis Complex. AND STEINFELDT salient athletic identity has been linked to negative outcomes such as difﬁculty transitioning out of sport (Grove. 2005). McCreary & Saucier. & Phillips. Gold. The sport of football represents such a context that requires a high level of muscularity from its participants. Fulkerson. Gray... Gruber. Ryckman. Keel. men often prefer to lose body fat composition not to be thinner. 2001). and injury prevention. For example. Recent research on athletic identity and masculinity socialization in sport has indicated that male football players who strongly identiﬁed with the athlete role also reported higher levels of gender role conﬂict (Steinfeldt..g. and that this desire to be muscular is related to participants’ conceptualization of masculinity (e.
1990).... particularly those who play the violent and aggressive contact sport of football (e.. Whitson.. physical appearance.g. expressions of strength. although much literature has focused on sociocultural pressures that men face to be muscular (e. leaner. & Gershel. Hruby. Because no research to date has examined the relationship between conformity to masculine norms and the drive for muscularity..e. Messner. 2002.. risk-taking. Related to this desire to gain weight is the increased use of supplements–particularly anabolic steroids–within sports (e. indicating that these football players wanted to be heavier than they currently are. Small. Particularly. risk taking. protein powders and bars. Furthermore.SPECIAL SECTION: DRIVE FOR MUSCULARITY 327 purpose of maximizing performance and minimizing injuries (Matthews & Wagner. We hypothesized that increased identiﬁcation with the athlete role (e. our second hypothesis was that higher levels of athletic identity would also be signiﬁcantly related to higher DMS scores. In this mixed-method study.. 1993) would potentially contribute to behaviors and beliefs (i. and drive for muscularity among college football players. it is important to examine the experiences of men who participate in contexts that are supportive of these potentially dangerous methods for achieving muscularity. get respect. 1995. Parks and Read (1997) reported signiﬁcant differences between football players’ current and ideal weight. 2007. 2002. 2002. Finally. 2001. In examining body image among high school football players.. 1990).g.g. winning. and present different severity of side effects (Metzl. adrenal hormones) are popular (between 7. identiﬁcation with the athlete role. 2004). 2000). Pope et al.e. 2010.. Additionally. but football players operate in a unique context that requires this body type in order to facilitate athletic success and avoid injuries. mostly in the past 15 years (Buckley et al. Ricciardelli & McCabe. Thus. Our ﬁrst hypothesis was that certain traditional masculine norms would predict drive for muscularity. 1988. In addition to illegal anabolic steroids. 2002) and its ability to convey socioculturally desirable masculine ideals (e. 2003.e. winning. Whannel. Brewer et al. Maier & Lavrakas.g.. 1992).g. lightly regulated. with some estimates indicating that over 3 million men (between 3% and 12% of adolescent boys) have used them. reasons related to sport performance) as the primary reason they wanted to be muscular. Levine. Wellard. 2010).. we were interested in exploring the relationship between masculine norms. ephedrine. Cloud. Method Participants The participants in this study were 197 college football players who attended one of three colleges in the Western region of the United . Leit et al. violence. we hypothesized that higher conformity to the norms of winning. Gilchrist. Nearly all men are subjected to the dynamics of social comparison that idealize a body type that is both low in body fat and high in muscle mass (Dixson et al. competition. creatine. sex appeal.e. These products (e.. and/or stronger. desire to be muscular) that provide participants with greater visibility and identiﬁcation as an athlete.. violence) represent prominent values that are embedded within sport and are often associated with traditional masculine traits (e. Messner. Lindner et al.. we based this hypothesis on the pretense that these norms (i. Current Study The purpose of this study was to examine muscularity within a functional context by assessing the experiences of members of a unique population (i. Subsequently. 2007. 2002). muscularity represents a functional component for athletes. 2008). and violence would be signiﬁcantly related to higher Drive for Muscularity (DMS) scores. Farquhar & Wasylkiw. 2001.g. Thus. 2009.9% and 23% of male athletes reporting creatine use).. but there are risks involved in doing so. men are buying legal food supplements that are advertised to facilitate the process of getting bigger. 1984). Anabolic steroids have led to the most dramatic changes in the male form in modern American history. Galli & Reel. our third hypothesis was that football players would report functionality (i. Sabo & Panepinto. ingesting these supplements can increase muscularity. football players) for whom muscularity serves the purpose of maximizing performance and minimizing injuries.. aggression. 1990.g. the domain of college football provides a relevant area for contextual analyses of masculinity based on the sport’s prominent status among men in the United States (Foley. physical contact. assertiveness. Messner. strength. 2000.
GOMORY. (d) Violence (six items. Brewer et al.g. The CMNI-46 has nine subscales: (a) Winning (six items. The purpose of the CMNI-46 is to assess men’s conformity to various masculine norms that are widely endorsed in dominant American culture. The mean age of the participants was 19. Risk-Taking . The entire scale is reverse-coded. Hurst.39 (SD 1. “I tend to keep my feelings to myself”). AND STEINFELDT States. I would frequently change sexual partners”). “I would be furious if someone thought I was gay”). 17% juniors. “I enjoy taking risks”). 2001) is a seven-item. e..g.. 1993. with athletes in higher levels of competition reporting higher athletic identity (Brewer et al. Fifty-four percent of the participants reported having an athletic scholarship. Emotional Control . Athletic identity.. “Other” (4%). and Watson (2008) provided cross-cultural validation of the AIMS in their psychometric evaluation with participants from Hong Kong and the U. Self-Reliance ..73. respectively). and behavioral aspects of identiﬁcation with the athlete role. affective. Support for construct validity of the AIMS has been demonstrated through examinations of differences in athletic identity across levels of athletic competition. 60. Reliability for the CMNI-46 was demonstrated by the nine subscales producing scale score reliability coefﬁcients ranging from . and 2% of respondents did not report a racial selfidentiﬁcation. “In general. “My work is the most important part of my life”). Violence .91 (Heterosexual SelfPresentation. (g) Self-Reliance (ﬁve items.. self-report instrument that uses a seven-point Likert-type scale with possible responses ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree). Drive for muscularity. 1995).68) for the AIMS in the current study is consistent with the scale score reliability scores found in other studies (Brewer & Cornelius.78. The Conformity to Masculine Norms Inventory-46 (CMNI-46. The DMS produces an overall score by asking participants to respond to items such as. 2009) is a 46-item self-report instrument that uses a four-point Likert-type scale with possible responses ranging from 0 (strongly disagree) to 3 (strongly agree). Higher AIMS scores indicate a stronger and a more exclusive identiﬁcation with the athlete role.. Parent and Moradi (2009) reported concurrent validity evidence based on the CMNI-46 and its subscale factors being positively correlated with the theoretically corresponding scales of the original CMNI. and (i) Heterosexual Self-Presentation (six items.328 STEINFELDT. e. I will do anything to win”). and 15% seniors. Visek. Power Over Women . The participants self-identiﬁed their race as White (74%). Brewer & Cornelius. The CMNI-46 is a psychometrically validated short form of the original 94-item CMNI (Mahalik et al. e.S.g. Parent & Moradi. e. and higher scores represent higher levels of conformity to masculine norms. Multiracial (3%). Black (10%). The Cronbach’s alpha coefﬁcient ( .83. “In general. 2009). “It bothers me when I have to ask for help”). 2001. AIMS items (e. and 52 participants from each institution.77 (Primacy of Work) to . “I consider myself an athlete” or “Sport is the most important part of my life”) rate the extent to which respondents agree with statements about cognitive.g.. The DMS (McCreary & Sasse.g. and Heterosexual Self-Presentation . (h) Primacy of Work (four items.g. All institutions participated at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II level (85.52).g. while 46% were not on scholarship. 2000) is a 15-item self-report instrument that uses a six-point Likert-type scale with possible responses ranging from 1 (always) to 6 (never) to assess attitudes and behaviors related to a muscular appearance. “I think I would be more conﬁdent if I had more muscle . 24% sophomores..72. GILCHRIST. e.79.. Additionally. e. The Athletic Identity Measurement Scale (AIMS.76.80. Parent & Moradi. “If I could. “Sometimes violent action is necessary”). Cornelius.g. In measuring the strength and exclusivity of identiﬁcation with the athlete role. American Indian (2%).. e. (c) Risk-Taking (ﬁve items. The scale score reliability coefﬁcients for the current study were as follows: Winning . Primacy of Work . Hispanic (5%). HALTERMAN. 2003).g. 1993).g.. Maxwell.. I control the women in my life”).. and the sample was made up of 44% freshmen. Playboy . Some items are reversecoded. e. Measures Conformity to masculine norms.68. (b) Emotional Control (six items.77. (f) Playboy (four items e. (e) Power Over Women (four items. and higher scores represent a greater desire to be muscular.
Based on our decision to collect quantitative and qualitative data at the same time. Qualitative Data Analysis Our methodology focused primarily on the quantitative methods with a lesser emphasis on the qualitative methodology. quantitative items) and open-ended questions (i. In order to analyze the qualitative responses to the questions.75.g.g.. External Gratiﬁcation . and Functionality . Participants were assured of anonymity and were informed that all their data would be kept conﬁdential and in a safe locked location. participants received consent forms and those who completed these consent forms were provided a survey packet to ﬁll out. (b) External Gratiﬁcation (e. In an effort to ensure voluntary participation. in their review of the literature on the DMS..g. 2000). qualitative items). The qualitative portion of the survey consisted of three open-ended questions that were taken from an interview protocol developed by Morrison et al. the Cronbach’s alpha coefﬁcient in our study for the overall DMS was ..82. Hagen. Because the level of interrater agreement across all three . conﬁdence).72.71. self-esteem. participants were informed that if they did not want to participate in the study. to become healthy). The ﬁrst author contacted athletic administrators and coaches who agreed to make football players available for voluntary participation in the study without compensation. (c) Health (e. & Steinfeldt. higher depression. (2003) protocol were used: (a) “Why do you think men want to be muscular?” (b) “If applicable. (d) Functionality (e. We modeled our mixed-method approach on another concurrent QUANT qual mixed-method study (Steinfeldt. to be stronger. 1991). The third and fourth authors used this coding scheme to independently code the participants’ qualitative responses. Health ..93.85 and . we used a codebook that was created by Steinfeldt et al. Questions from the Morrison et al. 2011b) that also asked participants to complete a survey containing rating scales (i. There was also an Other category for the coders to address responses that did not ﬁt into the categorization scheme. why do you want to be muscular?” and (c) “What are the beneﬁts of being muscular?” Participants could potentially report multiple reasons for being muscular because this open-ended format did not restrict the number of responses that could be given on a particular question. Cafri and Thompson (2004) reported 7 to 10 day testretest correlations of . At a team meeting outside of class and practice time.. Participants took approximately 10 to 15 minutes to complete the survey packet. Hoag. to perform better at sport). The Kappas for each coded category across all three questions were as follows: Internal Gratiﬁcation .88. (2011a) in their study with athletes that analyzed the questions from Morrison et al.e. The codebook that we used can be found in Appendix A. Additionally.SPECIAL SECTION: DRIVE FOR MUSCULARITY 329 mass” and “I feel guilty if I miss a weight training session. These questions attempted to elicit participants’ individualized beliefs about muscularity by allowing participants to provide responses about their own unique perceptions about muscularity. Participants were asked to write in their responses to these open-ended questions. (2003).g.’s (2003) interview protocol. conformity). they could write in their playbooks and turn in a blank survey packet at the end..91 with male participants. Consistent with those ﬁndings. The Kappa coefﬁcient of interrater reliability across all three questions was . Procedures Research for this study was conducted in compliance with institutional review board policies and APA ethical principles. for sexual appeal. We calculated interrater reliability coefﬁcients for the responses that were blindly coded by each of the independent researchers. McCreary (2007) reported scale score reliability coefﬁcients on the DMS ranging between . Reasons for being muscular.61. and (e) I Don’t Want to Be Muscular. Because of the openended format of the questions.” Support for convergent validity for the DMS can be found in its signiﬁcant correlation with psychological indicators of body image disorders (e. to be ﬁt. This coding scheme contained ﬁve possible categories of responses: (a) Internal Gratiﬁcation (e. McCreary & Sasse. lower self-esteem. In support of the scale’s reliability.. Wong. our mixed-method approach can be categorized theoretically as a “concurrent QUANT qual” study (Morse.g. each response contained content that could be coded within multiple categories.e. to look good.
24 .86 3.e.02 –.81 2.54 10. . Hetero SP p . p . In the second step.330 STEINFELDT.94 Note. the CMNI-46 subscale Primacy of Work ( . The overall model accounted for 28% of the variance in DMS. GILCHRIST. the CMNI-46 subscale Risk Taking ( . Emotional Control and Primacy of Work were signiﬁcantly related to DMS.34 POWomen Playboy . standard deviations..13 .68 8.001.18 . we coded the qualitative responses that participants gave to the three open-ended questions (see Table 3 for a categorical breakdown of number Table 1 Means.05 .14 .23 .15 5.25 .02 .21 .11 .31 .21 .47 1. and Correlations of Main Study Variables (N Variable AIMS Winning EmoCon Risk Taking Viol POWomen Playboy Self Rel Prim Work Hetero SP DMS Mean SD Risk AIMS Winning EmoCon Taking .24 . Risk Taking.05. One norm.26 . In support of our second hypothesis.16 .09 .20 .13 6. Violence. We conducted a hierarchical multiple regression analysis to address the ﬁrst two hypotheses concerning the relationship between conformity to masculine norms.33 . Winning.24 . Differences were reconciled through consensus to produce a ﬁnal coded data set of qualitative responses.18 2. EmoCon Emotional Control. our ﬁrst two hypotheses received mixed support. p .20 13.97 36.03 –. In order to control for demographic variables.51 . Heterosexual Self-Preservation) were signiﬁcantly correlated with DMS among football players in this sample.09 . Scholarship Status.31 . Institution (i. HALTERMAN.06 DMS . Prim Work Primacy of Work.35 197) Self Rel . p . Standard Deviations.09 16.20 . Athletic Identity was signiﬁcantly related to DMS.14 .46 2. and Race.29 2. yielding four statistically significant predictive variables: the CMNI-46 subscale Emotional Control ( .08 .93 4.17 3. and then we entered the nine subscales of the CMNI-46 in the third step (see Table 2). POWomen Power Over Women.29 .24 56.22. and intercorrelations of the main study variables are provided in Table 1.18 . Emotional Control.22 .01. We included an Other category.013).66 12.22. Results Quantitative Analyses The means.02 .36 . was signiﬁcantly related to DMS (as predicted).12 .06 . there was no need for a Kappa computation.11 –..10 .013).64 2.22 –.09 2.22 . Our ﬁrst hypothesis received mixed support because not all of the predicted CMNI-46 subscales were signiﬁcantly related to DMS.19 Prim Hetero Work SP . and Athletic Identity ( . Thus. AND STEINFELDT questions on the I Don’t Want to Be Muscular category was 100%.04 .g. Risk-Taking.20.14 –. we entered the following variables in the ﬁrst step: Year in School. Heterosexual Self-Preservation. p . Athletic Identity and many of the CMNI-46 subscales (e.26 .45 7. Qualitative Analyses In an effort to assess our third hypothesis concerning reasons that college football players would give for wanting to be muscular.004).21 . The Kappa coefﬁcients we calculated indicated that the two independent coders reached an acceptable level of agreement on their coding of the data. but results did not yield a critical mass of responses that would warrant the creation of a new category.31 .18. Violence. the three separate schools sur- veyed). and DMS among college football players. p .32 . we entered Athletic Identity. Viol Self Rel Self Reliance. GOMORY. p . Athletic Identity. AIMS Athletic Identity.12 –.06 .33 .17 .33 .06 7. SelfReliance.21 Viol . but neither Winning nor Violence were signiﬁcantly related.05 13.001). Instead.
0% 68 15.18 .08 2 .01 .77 .7% 149 34.82 .17 .20 .07 . If applicable.0% 24 7. and Internal Gratiﬁcation (8.12 p and frequency of responses to each of the three questions).1% 434 100% .56 .2% 1 0% 13 4. why do you want to be muscular?).68 .507 .08 .22 .7%). followed by External Gratiﬁcation (30.9% 165 38.94 .07 .85 .87 .15 . Internal Gratiﬁcation (10.06 .11 .42 .3% 0 0% 9 2.01. In regard to the second question (i.28 .03 .0%).28 .22 .54 .18 .15 .76 1.37 .03 .10 .1% 300 100% 43 9.74 .55 .2%).18 .26 . p .0%).24 .. Results showed that External Gratiﬁcation represented the largest category (57.0% 183 57.0% 130 43.08 R2 .70 1.30 .09 .32 .e.12 . Health (15.44 .13 .17 .SPECIAL SECTION: DRIVE FOR MUSCULARITY 331 Table 2 Multiple Regression Model Predicting Drive for Muscularity (N Step 1 Variable Institution Year in school Scholarship status Race Institution Year in school Scholarship status Race Athletic identity Institution Year in school Scholarship status Race Athletic identity Winning (CMNI-46) Emotional control (CMNI-46) Risk-taking (CMNI-46) Violence (CMNI-46) Power over women (CMNI-46) Playboy (CMNI-46) Self-reliance (CMNI-46) Primacy of work (CMNI-46) Heterosexual self-preservation (CMNI-46) .16 .14 .20 .25 .63 .7%).12 .77 1.5%).31 .14 .11 .21 197) SE B . followed by Functionality (21. p .07 3 .3% 1 0% 6 2.12 R2 .0%) of football players’ responses to the ﬁrst question (i.13 .7% 92 30. Only one participant response indicated that he did not want to be muscular.18 .25 . results showed that External Gratiﬁca- Table 3 Categorized Number and Frequency of Participants’ Responses to Study’s Three Open-Ended Questions Question Why do men want to be muscular? Number of Responses Frequency Why do you want to be muscular? Number of Responses Frequency What are the beneﬁts of being muscular? Number of Responses Frequency Internal Gratiﬁcation External Gratiﬁcation Health Function I do not want to be muscular Other TOTAL 32 10.01 .52 .5% 68 21.17 .e.21 . Only one participant response indicated that men did not want to be muscular.. B 1.77 .3%) of football players’ responses.61 1.25 .0% 321 100% 26 8. Why do you think men want to be muscular?).66 . Finally.12 . results showed that Functionality represented the largest category (43.85 .26 . and Health (7.05.7% 45 15.22 .001.
poor academic performance. Health (15. 2002. 2011).e.g. in support of our second hypothesis. anxiety.. AND STEINFELDT tion represented the largest category (38. followed by Functionality (34. including higher levels of alcohol use (Liu & Iwamoto.. These traits align with norms of traditional masculinity (e. Emotional Control. Steinfeldt. Mahalik et al. “to look good for women and to intimidate other guys”) was also an oft-cited reason for wanting to be muscular among participants in this study. Risk Taking.. However. 2000) where incidents of on-ﬁeld violence and antisocial sports behaviors occur (e. our qualitative results indicated that a desire to be muscular can be seen as . Thus.g. our hypothesis was based on traditional masculine traits (e. 1988. Brooks & Silverstein. after controlling for other factors. the more he desires to be muscular. strength. Similar to DMS (e. the results of this current study did not identify a signiﬁcant relationship between the drive for muscularity and conformity to these particular masculine norms (i.e.g. 2005).e. Although no research to date had previously examined how conformity to masculine norms inﬂuences men’s desire to be muscular. This ﬁnding suggests that the more a football player identiﬁes with the athlete role. GOMORY. Whannel. Finally. the traditional masculine norms of Winning and Violence were not signiﬁcantly related to DMS. Lewis. HALTERMAN. 1997. 2005. Because the drive for muscularity involves tangible on-ﬁeld beneﬁts related to becoming bigger and stronger.. Winning. 2007. 2005). Rutkowski. Whitson. 1995. Davis et al. competition) operating within the contact sport of football (Wellard. 1993).. the traditional masculine norm of Risk Taking was signiﬁcantly related to DMS. aggression.. athletic identity has also been linked to a host of negative outcomes in the literature (e.g. There were no participant responses that indicated there was no beneﬁt to being muscular.g. suggesting that interpretation of how this traditional norm of masculinity operates within athletic populations needs to take into account the unique context of intercollegiate sports.7%). Grove et al. However. 1990).3%).. research needs to explore the degree to which athletes engage in risky behaviors (e. Masten et al.. Additionally. difﬁcult transition from sport. Both were signiﬁcantly correlated to DMS. & Steinfeldt. Richman & Shaffer. 2007. Orr. given the prevalence of anabolic steroid use in society and in sport (Buckley et al.. Risk-Taking). external gratiﬁcation (e. these results provided support for our third hypothesis that football players would report functional reasons (e. and Internal Gratiﬁcation (9.g. this Risk Taking norm was found to be signiﬁcantly related to positive body image among female student athletes (Steinfeldt. future research is needed to better identify not only how masculinity socialization processes operate within sport.g.0%) of football players’ responses to the third question (i.. but also to examine if conformity to these norms inﬂuences participants’ desire to be muscular..9%). Hruby.. using performance enhancing substances) in order to achieve quicker results in building their bodies to be as powerful as possible. Labre. athletic identity.g. 2006. McCreary et al. 2010). In support of our ﬁrst hypothesis. In sum. and the desire for college football players to be muscular. assertiveness. Although sports are conceptualized as “masculinized” endeavors (e. 2005)... The norm of Risk Taking has been linked to negative outcomes among men. What are the beneﬁts of being muscular?). Violence) were not signiﬁcantly related... Primacy of Work) were signiﬁcantly related to DMS. & Steinfeldt. However.g. Our ﬁrst hypothesis received mixed support. while other hypothesized norms (i. 2007) and engagement in sexually aggressive behavior.e. Certain traditional norms of masculinity (i. but neither emerged as signiﬁcant predictors of DMS in our regression model. Violence. 2002. Carter... GILCHRIST. the results of this study highlighted the relationship between masculinity. Subsequently. Athletic Identity was signiﬁcantly related to DMS. “I’ll be bigger and stronger and that helps on the football ﬁeld”) as their primary reason for being muscular. 2011)... Risk Taking has produced mixed results within the literature.332 STEINFELDT. Winning. Discussion Quantitative Results Taken together. the relationship between Risk Taking and DMS is noteworthy within the context. Despite our ﬁrst hypothesis to the contrary. Shields & Bredemeier. particularly when combined with problematic alcohol use (Locke & Mahalik.g. Zakrajsek. Violence) that are often associated with the “dark side of masculinity” (e.
“to attract women and be showing off as a tuff (sic) guy. sex appeal. Smolak & Murnen.. 1954) and conformity to masculine norms (e. Thus. their responses (30.SPECIAL SECTION: DRIVE FOR MUSCULARITY 333 a functional task for football players..7%) for themselves within this External Gratiﬁcation category were signiﬁcantly lower than the number of responses (57. If applicable.” When asked about the beneﬁts of being muscular. Qualitative Results The results of the independent coding process indicated the presence of multiple categories within the qualitative data. That is. However. & Jensen. and ligaments.g. Festinger.. In support of our third hypothesis.” while another player responded. suggesting that these constructs may operate differently within athletic contexts. diligence. Limitations This study has a number of limitations to note. Mahalik et al. Although they did acknowledge this sociocultural pressure when asked why they wanted to be muscular (i. it is possible that football players might readily conceptualize their body as “body-as-process” based on their perceptions of utilizing their body as a functional machine Results like these.. Thus. conformity to social pressures) were the most common responses. that the bigger a man is. the more of a man he is. one player stated.” while another player responded “the media and for some men it is seen as being masculine and not gay. When asked why he wanted to be muscular. Society says it too. Why do men want to be muscular?). Messner. one respondent provided a relatively sophisticated physiological response: “Larger muscles take a larger portion of the focus exerted on different parts of the body during physical stress. These responses.g. indicated that football players acknowledged sociocultural messages that link muscularity and masculinity. This allows for less stress on joints. and even a person’s physical awareness. compensation. Fujita.” Additionally. another player stated: Muscularity is a symbol of phallacy (sic) for some men. “to be stronger at my sport and my position. “because it’s part of being an athlete–for your body not to break down in competitive situations.. reasons that were related to sport performance (i.g. one respondent stated.g. while football players did primarily endorse a “body-as-process” perspective..e. Simons. 1990).e. Functionality category) were the most common responses among participants who were asked why they wanted to be muscular. When asked why they thought that men wanted to be muscular.. and similar responses found in the data. including their own. I honestly believe that when you see those huge macho guys that they might be lacking conﬁdence and are trying to show it otherwise..0%) they endorsed for other men (i. vanity. not to mention the positive impact this can have on one’s self-conﬁdence. 2007) might help us conceptualize this ﬁnding (that football players who strongly identiﬁed with their role as an athlete also reported a stronger desire to be more muscular). commitment) to both identifying with the athlete role and to the desire for muscularity. 1995). It is possible that there are positive and adaptive aspects (e. it must ﬁrst be built up.g.. why do you want to be muscular?). not only do football players acknowledge the need for muscularity to increase performance on the ﬁeld.g. Perhaps considering the tremendous amount of effort and sacriﬁce that is necessary to succeed in sport (e. self discipline.” whose instrumentality is more important than its aesthetic value (Franzoi. McCreary et al. First. 2008. physical appearance. tendons. mental stability. reasons that were related to the category of External Gratiﬁcation (e. our qualitative ﬁndings indicated that conceptualizations of “body-as-object” are not removed from this context. emotional stability. Mussap. indicated that many football players conceptualize the need for muscularity in functional terms. 2008). along with other similar responses in the data. These messages put pressure on men to conform their bodies to meet these sociocultural standards (e. External Gratiﬁcation also represented the second highest category of responses for why football players responded that they wanted to be muscular. 2003) play in men’s desire to be muscular.. When asked why men want to be muscular.. Bosworth. they also suggested that a drive for muscularity can serve as a protective factor to ward off potential injuries in this often violent contact sport (e.e. the experience of football players at . players acknowledged the role that social comparison (e. 2005.g..
but rather to interpret work in terms of the commitment of their full-time endeavors in football. cross-country. HALTERMAN.g. 2011b). the signiﬁcant relationship between emotional control and drive for muscularity in this study could reﬂect a context-speciﬁc interpretation of emotion that operates in the domain of football. practice.. Thus.. although this within-group investigation addressed a gap in the literature. military). student athletes are often expected to commit well over 40 hours a week in pursuit of their sport (e. Future researchers should focus on contextually bound interpretations of emotion (e. Future researchers should explore this dynamic in greater detail in order to provide clarity on this ﬁnding within this unique context.. Thus. interviews. particularly when examining traditionally “masculinized” domains (e. Our ﬁndings could have been strengthened by triangulating the data with multiple sources (e.g..g. follow up with participants to clarify the meaning of their responses). this ﬁnding (that college football players who strongly endorsed the norm of Primacy of Work were more likely to desire to be muscular) might be better interpreted if we consider that those respondents would engage in these behaviors if they more strongly endorsed the primacy of working to be a football player (rather than Primacy of Work in the occupational sense). the items comprising the Primacy of Work subscale appear to resonate with the unique stressors and challenges facing collegiate student athletes. Simons et al. Furthermore.. or intensity–instead of affect–when asked about emotional experiences in football. and seldom have time for outside employment. member checks. In sum. our ﬁnding that higher conformity to the masculine norm of Primacy of Work was signiﬁcantly related to DMS was a result that neither conformity to masculine norms nor drive for muscularity theories would readily predict. focus groups) and through other methods (e.334 STEINFELDT. a ﬁnding that supports Helgeson’s (1994) assertion that muscularity and masculinity are often equated in American society. the validity of our qualitative ﬁndings could be limited by our reliance on written responses to only three open-ended questions in the survey. Conclusion Taken together. the qualitative results provided insight into . our results indicated that the traditional masculine norm of Emotional Control was signiﬁcantly related to DMS. upon further review of the CMNI-46. 2008). AND STEINFELDT these three colleges may not generalize to the experience of other college football players in different geographic regions or from different backgrounds or different levels of play (e. rugby. football. GILCHRIST. However.g. Subsequently.. the items on the CMNI-46 that inquire about respondents’ primacy of work might cause college football players to not interpret work in the occupational sense. In addition to certain traditional norms of masculinity. Future Research Directions In contextually examining muscularity within this unique group of men.. NCAA Division I. basketball). participants characterized emotions in terms of energy. We encourage future researchers to employ rigorous mixed methods to further examine contextual masculinity within domains of interest. the results of this study provide insight into the experience of men who operate in a context that requires a degree of muscularity in order to be successful.g.g. some of our signiﬁcant ﬁndings did not support our hypotheses. Again. The quantitative results of this study suggested that muscularity and masculinity represent related constructs among college football players. Additionally. but instead conceptualized emotion as a level of intensity and aggression that needed to be channeled in order to be successful on the ﬁeld.. For example. lifting weights. NCAA Division III). adrenaline. GOMORY. That is. Coaches and players reframed emotion not as happiness or sadness. results should be interpreted in light of these limitations. ﬁlm study. Additionally. the results would have been strengthened by providing a comparison group of nonathletes or athletes from other sports (e. 2010) and with college football players (Steinfeldt et al. Additionally. Doing so could help determine whether football players’ experiences with masculinity and muscularity differ from the experiences of other groups of men. position meetings.. Wong & Rochlen. this result was not predicted by our hypotheses..g. In previous studies with college football coaches (Steinfeldt et al. identiﬁcation with the athlete role was signiﬁcantly related to participants’ desire to be muscular. 2007).
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