Date of Graduation

Spring 2015


Master of Science in Psychology



Committee Chair

Erin Buchanan


Research in past decades has underscored the importance of body dissatisfaction (BD) in the development and maintenance of disordered eating and health practices (e.g., restrictive eating, exercise habits). Given that 90% of individuals with eating disorders are female, research has focused primarily on female BD. However, male BD has increased sharply over the past decade, and has been linked to maladaptive health behaviors (e.g., steroid use, excessive exercise). Although the presentation of BD contrasts greatly between males and females, many current measures do not delineate between features of male and female BD and are not sensitive to core features of male BD (e.g., muscularity and bulk). Measures specified for males attempt to focus on these core features, but incorrectly assume that these features are equally important for all males. Therefore, this study provided an evaluation of four measures of male BD using item response theory to provide an alternative method of analysis and scoring for a more complete picture of male BD. Eight hundred and forty-one participants completed the study. By examining the response patterns in the data, the following research questions were answered: 1) What is the level of discriminability of each item and which are the most informative? 2) Are there item biases along the spectrum of BD? 3) Are these scales equivalent measures of BD and are equivalent short-form measures possible? Results also provided evidence for developing a computer-adaptive test (CAT) for BD in the future.


body dissatisfaction, item response theory, body image, scale development, psychometrics

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