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Purpose The purpose of the present study was to explore the relative contributions of self-blame and internalized shame to variability in disordered eating and drive for muscularity scores in collegiate men.

Method One hundred and sixty-eight male college students in the Rocky Mountain region of the USA completed valid and reliable self-report survey measures: the Drive for Muscularity Scale, the Internalized Shame Scale, the Shame and Guilt Eating Scale to assess self-blame, and the Eating Attitudes Test. Cross-sectional data were analyzed through descriptive, correlation, and regression statistics.

Results Men who reported higher levels of self-blame, r = 0.39, p < 0.001, and internalized shame, r = 0.38, p < 0.001, also reported higher levels of eating disorder symptomology. Similarly, men who scored higher on internalized shame, r = 0.20, p < 0.01, reported higher scores on drive for muscularity. Regression analyses revealed that internalized shame was the sole contributor to variability in drive for muscularity scores, β = 0.20, p < 0.01, whereas both self-blame, β = 0.27, p < 0.001, and internalized shame, β = 0.24, p < 0.001, contributed to scores on disordered eating attitudes and behaviors in men.

Conclusions Our study was the first to examine how internalized shame and self-blame relate to drive for muscularity and disordered eating in collegiate men. Our results suggest that both self-blame and internalized shame may contribute to disordered eating in men. Additionally, internalized shame appears to relate to drive for muscularity in men. Clinicians may wish to consider how they approach treatment given the potential contributions of internalized shame and self-blame to disordered eating in their male clients.

Level of evidence Level V, cross-sectional descriptive study.

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