Document Type

Social Sciences



Submission Date

July 2017


Research on mass media’s impact on body image has mostly been focused on females thus far. Of the little research that has been done on male body image, most of it has been focused on adult males, and therefore the effect of mass media on adolescent boys’ body image is still a relatively primitive field of knowledge. Through comparing the exposure of adolescent boys to muscular avatars in popular video games, a source of mass media that a majority of adolescent boys are exposed to, and relating it to research done on the effects of frequent ideal image exposure through other forms of mass media on males, the influence of video games on the body image of adolescent boys can be determined. This study consisted of several factors: (1) understanding the impact of constantly viewing ideal images in mass media on males’ perceptions of their own bodies, (2) reviewing the body types of the male avatars in several modern, popular video games played by adolescent boys, (3) relating the exposure of video game avatars on adolescent boys’ views of their own physiques, and (4) examining the implications of negative body image on adolescent boys’ eating and exercise strategies. Although video game avatars tend to have a slightly different body shape than those presented in most types of mass media, their unifying trait of naturally unattainable muscularity resulted a reaction among adolescent boys that was similar to that of adult males with regard to mesomorphic (muscular, V-shaped) body types in mass media. This resulting negative body image can lead to psychological disorders such as depression or such physical disorders as anabolic steroid usage, unnatural dieting, and excessive exercising.


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