Is there any connection between muscle-building and weapon carrying and physical fighting? A new study shows that there is much relation. The study gains significance in the wake of increasing gun violence even among children.
In an analysis of over 4,000 boys in high schools in the United States, the study published in Journal of Interpersonal Violence pointed out that moderate to high engagement in muscle-building exercise is associated with physical fighting and carrying weapons, such as a gun, knite, or club.
Lead author Kyle T. Ganson said; “these are unique findings that underscore a likely relationship between boys’ attempts to adhere to masculine normal, such as strength, toughness, and dominance, and weapon carrying, physical fighting, and muscle-building exercise.” Gangon is assistant professor at theUniversity of Toronto’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work.
“Muscularity is associated with toughness and masculinity. By engaging in muscle-building exercises, weapon carrying, and physical fighting, adolescent boys can display that they meet masculine norms,” the researcher said.
Teenage boys face unprecedented pressures to build muscle and bulk, especially through sports, peers, and social media,” said co-author Jason M. Nagata, MD, MSc, assistant professor at the University of California, San Francisco’s Department of Pediatrics. “We found that over three-quarters of teenage boys engaged in muscle-building exercise.” Gender socialization and interpersonal behaviors further develop during adolescence, while risk-taking behaviors among adolescents are relatively high.
The study’s findings highlight the importance of establishing interventions and educational initiatives in schools to discuss gender equity and addresses violence for adolescent boys. It also speaks to the importance of prevention and intervention efforts that healthcare professionals, school staff, and athletics professionals can undertake to ensure that adolescent boys engage in muscle-building exercise in ways that are not harmful.
“Through thorough and consistent education and policies related to safe muscle-building behaviours, schools and community members can collectively reduce risk behaviours associated with higher engagement of muscle building exercises for adolescent boys, Ganson says.