Few studies have examined objectification in the context of romantic relationships, even though strong theoretical arguments have often made this connection. This study addresses this gap in the literature by examining whether exposure to mass media is related to self-objectification and objectification of one’s partner, which in turn is hypothesized to be related to relationship and sexual satisfaction. A sample of undergraduate students (91 women and 68 men) enrolled in a university on the west coast of the United States completed self-report measures of the following variables: self-objectification, objectification of one’s romantic partner, relationship satisfaction, sexual satisfaction, and exposure to objectifying media. Men reported higher levels of partner objectification than did women; there was no gender difference in self-objectification. Self- and partner-objectification were positively correlated; this correlation was especially strong for men. In regression analyses, partner-objectification was predictive of lower levels of relationship satisfaction. Furthermore, a path model revealed that consuming objectifying media is related to lowered relationship satisfaction through the variable of partner-objectification. Finally, self- and partner-objectification were related to lower levels of sexual satisfaction among men. This study provides evidence for the negative effects of objectification in the context of romantic relationships among young adults.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 22, 2011
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