“I didn’t realise I was such a sausage”: Men’s Accounts of Whole-body Scanning, Body Image, and Expected Changes in Health-related Behaviours

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • External authors:
  • Sarah Grogan
  • Daisy O’Brien
  • Kathryn Brownbridge
  • Jenny Cole


Objective: Whole-body scanning is now available in stores to assist buyers in choosing well-fitting clothes. This study was designed to investigate men’s accounts of scanning, body image, and expectations of behaviour change.
Design: Ten men aged 18-34 years without histories of eating disorders or previous experience of whole-body scanning, took part in semi-structured interviews before and after scanning. Data were analysed using inductive thematic analysis.
Results: Pre-scan, men’s body ideals were tall, slender, and relatively muscular. Post-scan, seven reported looking shorter, fatter, thinner, and/or less symmetrical than they hoped; three were pleasantly surprised by the images. Men were interested in scans as an objective view of their bodies and as a “wake-up call” to motivate healthy behaviours. Five men intended to change their behaviour as a result of scanning, and repeat scanning was seen as a good way to monitor behavioural changes. Participants suggested that scanning may raise body concerns in other men, though downplayed impacts on their own body image.
Conclusion: Whole-body scanning may encourage men to exercise and eat more healthily. However, men became more negative about their bodies as a result of seeing their body scans, so scanning needs to be carried out with supervision and support.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychology and Health
Early online date7 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019