Breaking the Muscular Mold: The Application of Homophily, Credibility, and Physical Attractiveness within Attitude and Perceived Behavioral Control towards Weight Lifting

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Virginia Tech

This study extends the Theory of Planned Behavior by drawing on research investigating the 'halo effect,' which posits that physically attractive people are more likely to be hired, get a raise, perceived positively, and/or live happily within certain professions. Extant work has shown this trend is not generalizable across all fields. For example, scientists who are viewed as relatively unattractive and unsociable are perceived as producing higher quality research compared to their more attractive and sociable counterparts. The fitness industry, and the bodybuilding community in particular, presents an interesting issue where muscularity is an indicator of expertise and credibility, however, for female bodybuilders a muscular physique may diminish her perceived attractiveness and diminish such evaluations. Drawing on the Theory of Planned Behavior, this study examines how muscularity influences assessments of attractiveness, credibility, and homophily and indirectly influences participants' attitudes and perceived control over theory own weight lifting behavior. Though the hypothesized model was not a good fit, an exploratory respecification of the proposed model shows physical attractiveness plays a central role in assessments of homophily, credibility, and attitude.

muscle mass, gender roles, homophily, credibility, physical attractiveness