Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Semester of Degree Completion

2017

Thesis Director

Dianne Timm

Abstract

This study sought to better understand what influences male body image perceptions among college men attending a mid-sized Midwestern university. A qualitative research approach was utilized to better establish a better understanding on how college men construct their body image perceptions. Nine male undergraduate students in their third year or greater participated in one-on-one interviews. These participants self-identified as a member of a single-gender student organization including a social Greek letter fraternity, university athletic team, and/or other student organization(s) on-campus. Results of this study revealed that one of the most influential forces of body image perception among participants was the reliance on others to establish normalcy in social environments. Furthermore, participants who interacted with those in their place of residence found greater influence on various health behaviors and how they describe their bodies. Participants were aware of available health promotion programs to help reach their body image aspirations, however, establishing a balance of academics, work, and social endeavors created barriers to change. Further research on this topic could include studying other single-gender groups as well as greater investigation into importance of residential community influence. In addition, a longitudinal approach focusing on studying body image perceptions from matriculation through graduation may allow researchers to better understand stages of body image perceptions and possible variances. Student affairs practitioners and university administration should seek student input in student health advisory committees and act as liaison between the student body and campus health services.

Graduate Program

Counseling and Student Development

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