The pursuit of muscularity among adolescent boys in Fiji and Tonga

Ricciardelli, Lina A, McCabe, Marita P, Mavoa, Helen, Fotu, Kalesita, Goundar, Ramneek, Schultz, Jimaima, Waqa, Gade and Swinburn, Boyd A (2007) The pursuit of muscularity among adolescent boys in Fiji and Tonga. Body Image, 4 (4). pp. 361-371.


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.
# 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Muscularity; Adolescent boys; Fiji; Tonga; Strength and fitness; Sporting performance

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