Within dominant U.S. culture, the feminine body has been positioned as an object to be looked at and sexually gazed upon; thus, females often learn to view themselves from an observer’s perspective and to treat themselves as objects to be looked at (i.e., self-objectification). Self-objectification often results in negative outcomes, such as body dissatisfaction, among Caucasian samples, but the correlates and consequences of self-objectification among African Americans are less clear. Given that this construct may vary considerably across racial/ethnic groups, the current study considers how self-objectification affects both African American and Caucasian college women’s body dissatisfaction. This was assessed via two prospective mediation models that utilized bootstrapping techniques. In the first model, trait anxiety was tested as a mediator of the relation between body surveillance, the behavioral indicator of self-objectification, and body dissatisfaction; in the second model, body surveillance was examined as a mediator of the relation between trait anxiety and body dissatisfaction. Participants at Time 1 were 276 undergraduate women attending a Midwestern university in the U.S.; 97 (35%) described themselves as African American/Black, and 179 as Caucasian non-Hispanic/White; at Time 2, 70 African American females and 156 Caucasian females provided data. At these two time points, separated by about 5 months, participants completed the same set of questionnaires. Results indicated that the first mediation model was not significant for either group, but the second model was significant for the Caucasian women. Results provide some support for the differential effects of self-objectification on women’s body dissatisfaction depending on race/ethnicity.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 1, 2012
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