The drive for muscularity and muscle dysmorphia in bodybuilders: English literature review

By Lisa Chaba, Stéphanie Scoffier-Mériaux, Vanessa Lentillon-Kaestner, Fabienne d’Arripe-Longueville

Muscle dysmorphia (MD) is an excessive preoccupation with the pursuit of a lean, hypermuscular body, which is associated with deviant behaviors that particularly affects bodybuilders. Although some meta-analyses on this subject have been implemented, none of them take into account sociodemographic, sociocultural and psychological factors associated with MD. The objective of this study was to review international scientific articles in English, published between 1995 and 2017, related to the drive for muscularity and muscle dysmorphia. Using three electronic databases (Google Scholar, PubMed, and ScienceDirect), and according to three inclusion criteria, 86 articles were selected. The content analysis allowed us to identify four sets of research: (a) behaviors and deviations related to the drive for muscularity and muscle dysmorphia; (b) sociodemographic factors; (c) sociocultural factors; (d) psychological factors. The contributions of these studies are discussed, and their limitations identified, while considering some perspectives for research and prevention.


  • drive for muscularity
  • muscle dysmorphia
  • sociodemographic and psychosocial factors
  • deviant behavior
  • bodybuilding
Go to the article on