Reducing Eating Disorder Risk Among Male Athletes: A Randomized Controlled Trial Investigating the Male Athlete Body Project.

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Publication Date


Publication Title

The International journal of eating disorders


washington; seattle; swedish; athletes; body dissatisfaction; body-ideal internalization; drive for muscularity; eating disorders; intervention; men; muscle dysmorphia


OBJECTIVE: No study to date has investigated an intervention program for male athletes that targets eating disorder risk factors. The purpose of this study was to measure the effects of the Male Athlete Body Project (MABP), an adaptation of the Female Athlete Body Project on body dissatisfaction, drive for muscularity, body-ideal internalization, and muscle dysmorphia.

METHOD: Participants were 79 male collegiate athletes who were randomized to the MABP (n = 39) or an assessment-only control condition (n = 40). All participants completed psychometrically validated measures at three time points: baseline, post-treatment (3 weeks after baseline for the control condition), and 1-month follow-up.

RESULTS: Hierarchical Linear Modeling assessed differences between conditions across time. Interaction effects revealed that participation in the MABP improved satisfaction with specific body parts and reduced drive for muscularity and body-ideal internalization at post-treatment compared to a control group. Athletes in the MABP also reported increased body areas satisfaction and reductions in drive for muscularity at 1-month follow-up. Reductions in supplement use were observed at 1-month follow-up only.

DISCUSSION: This study provides preliminary evidence of the efficacy of the MABP in reducing some eating disorder risk factors up to 1 month after the intervention; follow-up study considerations are discussed.

CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: NCT04077177 PUBLIC SIGNIFICANCE: This study highlights the importance of eating disorder and body image intervention efforts for male athletes. Findings suggest that male college athletes who attended a 3-session group intervention based on a well-established program for college women experienced an increase in satisfaction with specific body areas and a reduction in some eating disorder risk factors (e.g., drive for muscularity, supplement use, and body-ideal internalization) compared to a control group.

Clinical Institute

Mental Health

Clinical Institute

Digestive Health


Behavioral Health


Sports Medicine