Train real hard, brother!" : media self-assimilation of masculine ideals on male body image and physical strength "

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.A. in General Psychology


Department of Psychology


Advisor: Jack J. Bauer


Male body image research focuses on deleterious effects of a muscular ideal on positive self-regard following self-ideal comparisons. Imbuing oneself with the masculine ideal may buffer against effects. Media self-assimilation (MSA) may attenuate differences in responses. MSA with the ideal could instill higher self-regard and provide impetus for achieving one's ideal self with respect to the collective ideal. Study 1 analyzed men's relationships with media role models. Results were not significant for the theoretical model but provided evidence of MSA's primacy to PSR. Study 2 was a manipulation of MSA as participants wrote narratives about themselves as their favorite (or a disliked) superhero. Participants' grip strength increased following MSA, but only with a favorite superhero. Confidence in performing a physical task was augmented by MSA. Results demonstrate how embodying personal and collective ideals bolsters physical strength and confidence in ability. Narratives served as a teleological proxy by creating a coherent view of the self as part of both a personal and cultural ideal.


Body image in men, Mass media Influence, Self-perception in men, Superheroes Psychological aspects, Psychology, Social Psychology, male body image, narrative self-identity, Sociometer theory, grip strength, personal ideal

Rights Statement

Copyright 2014, author