Description: Objectification theory (Fredrickson & Roberts, 1997) has been used to explain how mechanisms related to socialization, sexual objectification, and psychological variables interact to predict mental health difficulties. Among a sample of 626 undergraduate women (age 18-24), this study empirically tested components of Moradi and Huang’s (2008) model and extended it by including additional socialization experiences (i.e., sexual abuse, societal pressures regarding weight and body size). Structural equation modeling analyses suggested that the model provided a good fit to the data and the model was tested in the confirmatory sample. Across the two samples, high levels of Body Shame and low levels of Internal Bodily Awareness directly led and high levels of Societal Pressures Regarding Weight and Body Size, Internalization of Cultural Standards of Beauty, and Self-objectification indirectly led to increased Bulimic Symptomatology and accounted for 65 to 73% of the variance in Bulimic Symptomatology. A history of sexual abuse and sexual objectification were not consistently supported within the model and do not appear to be as salient as the experience of societal pressures regarding weight and body size in understanding women’s experience of bulimic symptomatology. Implications for practice and future research are discussed.
Date: August 2011
Creator: Phillips, Sarah Ramby