Breakfast of champions - Steroids & the male experience of eating disorders

Date & time

4–5pm 26 April 2016


PSYC G8, Psychology Building 39


Dr Scott Griffiths, Sessional Lecturer at the University of Canberra

Muscularity distinguishes the male and female experience of eating disorders and body dissatisfaction. We are increasingly confronted by evidence that a) men and women pursue different body shapes, b) overvaluation of different body shapes leads to different forms of disordered eating and exercise, c) current eating disorder diagnostic criteria are thinness- and fat-centric, and d) muscularity-oriented eating disorder behaviours are becoming increasingly prevalent. Anabolic steroids, described as the “breakfast of champions” by former bodybuilder, movie star, and Governor of the US state of California Arnold Schwarzenegger, are a candidate muscularity-oriented eating disorder behaviour that is motivated by the overvaluation of a muscular body rather than a skinny body.

For decades, steroids have attracted fascination from the general public, politicians, and the scientific and sporting communities, often becoming embroiled in heated discussions about cheating, “roid rage,” and violence. However, despite all this attention, most of the discourse surrounding steroids is wildly misinformed, politicised, or sensationalised. This presentation will highlight the phenomenon of male eating disorders, including the role of stigma contributing to under-diagnosis, and the ongoing efforts to accommodate muscularity-oriented concerns into clinical work and research, including steroids.

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