Background and aims

Research shows inconsistent findings about the link between muscle dysmorphia (MD) and eating disorder (ED) symptomatology. The aim of this study is to synthesize the scientific evidence available on this topic, the researchers conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis. Methods: The literature search enabled us to identify 39 published articles, which provided 36 independent estimations of the correlation between the two variables. Results: Our analysis found a positive association between MD and ED symptoms (r+ = .36; 95% CI = 0.30, 0.41). Moderator analyses showed that the type of sample and the tools for assessing MD and ED were statistically associated with the MD–ED effect sizes. The methodological quality of the studies exhibited a positive, statistically significant association with the MD–ED effect sizes. Conclusions: Higher levels of MD were related to greater ED symptomatology, but several study characteristics may moderate the association between the two variables. In this study, we discuss limitations and implications for clinical practice and future research.

Keywords: Adonis complex, reverse anorexia, eating behaviors, meta-analysis, muscle dysmorphia