Monday, January 09, 2012

Body Image And Men

The UK Guardian summarizes a study about men and body image problems with this fascinating headline: "Body image concerns more men than women, research finds."

But I couldn't find the study (about 394 British men) or the other study which must have produced the numbers for women that are used in that comparison. I suspect that the participants in this study were not drawn randomly from the general population of British men because of this:
Respondents, of whom about a quarter were gay men, blamed the media and celebrities for unhelpfully reinforcing unrealistic ideals of physical perfection.
I don't think a quarter of British men are gay, so the sample is not representative of the population the overall conclusions are applied to.

If I had to guess, I'd plunge for self-selection as the way the study got its subjects. You put up advertisements in various places and see who signs up to be in your study. The problem, of course, is that this approach will attract more people who are concerned about the topic of the study than those who are not. That, in turn, means that the percentages you get in the study cannot be assumed to apply to all men or even all British men.