The role of self-objectification in disordered eating, depressed mood, and sexual functioning among women: A comprehensive test of objectification theory

Marika Tiggemann, Elyse Williams

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    105 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Our study aimed to offer a comprehensive test of the model outlined in objectification theory (Fredrickson & Roberts, 1997). A sample of 116 Australian female undergraduate students completed measures of self-objectification, self-surveillance, body shame, appearance anxiety, internal body awareness, flow, disordered eating, depressed mood, and sexual functioning. Simple correlations showed that most variables were related as predicted. Structural equation modeling showed an acceptable level of fit of the data to the theoretical model. Nevertheless, predictive ability was considerably greater for disordered eating than for depressed mood, which in turn was greater than for sexual functioning. Appearance anxiety and body shame emerged as the major mediating variables. The findings provide strong evidence in support of objectification theory. In particular, we concluded that self-objectification plays an important role in the development of mental health issues in young women. Accordingly, intervention strategies that target either societal objectification practices themselves, or educate young women to resist the pressures inherent in these practices that lead to self-objectification, have potentially far-reaching benefits.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)66-75
    Number of pages10
    JournalPsychology of Women Quarterly
    Volume36
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012

    Keywords

    • body image
    • depression (emotion)
    • eating disorders
    • objectification
    • physical appearance
    • sexual function disturbances

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