Effects of sexually objectifying media on self-objectification and body surveillance in undergraduates: Results of a 2-year panel study

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144 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study used objectification theory (B. L. Fredrickson and T.-A. Roberts, 1997) to predict that the media's insidious practice of objectifying bodies socializes individuals to take an outsider's perspective on the physical self (i.e., self-objectify) and to habitually monitor their appearance (i.e., engage in body surveillance). To test these hypotheses, a 2-year panel study using an undergraduate sample was conducted. Cross-lagged path models showed that exposure to sexually objectifying television measured during Year 1 increased trait self-objectification (trait SO) during Year 2 for both women and men. At the same time, trait SO during Year 1 decreased exposure to sexually objectifying television during Year 2, suggesting that both male and female participants selectively avoided sexually objectifying television based on antecedent trait SO. Moreover, exposure to sexually objectifying television and magazines increased body surveillance for men only. The discussion focuses on the process by which the media create body-focused perceptions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)366-386
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Communication
Volume56
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2006
Externally publishedYes

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Objectification
Undergraduate
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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication

Cite this

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title = "Effects of sexually objectifying media on self-objectification and body surveillance in undergraduates: Results of a 2-year panel study",
abstract = "This study used objectification theory (B. L. Fredrickson and T.-A. Roberts, 1997) to predict that the media's insidious practice of objectifying bodies socializes individuals to take an outsider's perspective on the physical self (i.e., self-objectify) and to habitually monitor their appearance (i.e., engage in body surveillance). To test these hypotheses, a 2-year panel study using an undergraduate sample was conducted. Cross-lagged path models showed that exposure to sexually objectifying television measured during Year 1 increased trait self-objectification (trait SO) during Year 2 for both women and men. At the same time, trait SO during Year 1 decreased exposure to sexually objectifying television during Year 2, suggesting that both male and female participants selectively avoided sexually objectifying television based on antecedent trait SO. Moreover, exposure to sexually objectifying television and magazines increased body surveillance for men only. The discussion focuses on the process by which the media create body-focused perceptions.",
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