Muscle-building linked to weapon carrying and physical fight
Analyzing over 4,000 U.S. boys in high schools, from the 2019 National High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey, researchers found that moderate to high engagement in muscle-building exercise is associated with physical fighting and carrying weapons, such as a gun, knife, or club.

These are unique findings that underscore a likely relationship between boys' attempts to adhere to masculine norms, such as strength, toughness, and dominance, and weapon carrying, physical fighting, and muscle-building exercise. 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.

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.

Source: 10.1177/08862605221101192