Grounded in aspects of objectification theory, social learning theory, and attachment theory, we investigated the extent to which mothers’ and daughters’ self-objectification were related to one another’s and also identified three potential intervening factors. Specifically, we hypothesized a (statistical) direct effect of mothers’ self-objectification on that of their daughters’ (H1), as well as investigated a conditional direct effect (i.e., maternal care) (H2) and two indirect effects (i.e., co-rumination and mothers’ weight concerns) (H3) as intervening factors that may help explain the relationship between mothers’ and daughters’ self-objectification. A sample of 199 U.S. undergraduate women and their mothers completed an online survey; daughters and mothers mean ages were 19.42 and 50.15, respectively, with a majority of them reporting a normal body mass index (daughters: 23.05; mothers: 25.74) and being White/Caucasian (daughters: 79.4 %; mothers: 80.9 %). The results generally supported the hypotheses. First, H1 was confirmed: Mothers’ and daughters’ self-objectification were positively related to one another’s. Second, perceived maternal care was found to moderate this relationship, such that daughters reported higher levels of self-objectification when they perceived their mothers to be less caring; thus, H2 was confirmed. Third, H3 was partially confirmed: Perceived co-rumination about weight with mothers, but not perceived mothers’ weight-related concerns, was found to be a significant mediator. These results suggest that mothers can serve as protective or inhibitory factors in daughters’ experience of self-objectification depending on mothers’ level of care and their direct communication with their daughters’ about their bodies.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 11, 2015
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