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Body Image. 2007 Dec;4(4):361-71. Epub 2007 Sep 20.

The pursuit of muscularity among adolescent boys in Fiji and Tonga.

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School of Psychology, Deakin University, 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood, Victoria 3125, Australia.


The desire for muscularity is tied to Western views of the male gender role, which prescribe that men be strong, physically fit and athletically successful. Although, these ideals have been primarily studied among Western adolescent boys, there is emerging evidence that the same ideals are valued and promoted among males from the Pacific Islands. The aim of the present study was to examine body image concerns associated with muscularity and the reasons for these concerns among Fijian and Tongan adolescent boys. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 24 Indigenous Fijian, 24 Indo-Fijian, and 24 Tongan boys aged between 13 and 20 years. A thematic analysis of boys' narratives showed that the pursuit of muscularity was a dominant theme for many boys. Boys' reasons for pursing muscularity included the attainment of strength and fitness, sporting performance, physical work, dominance, and health. These findings are examined in relation to previous research with Western adolescent boys.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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