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Sex Roles

, Volume 52, Issue 1–2, pp 43–50 | Cite as

The Role of Self-Objectification in the Experience of Women with Eating Disorders

  • Rachel M. Calogero
  • William N. Davis
  • J. Kevin Thompson
Article

Abstract

Objectification theory has linked self-objectification to negative emotional experiences and disordered eating behavior in cultures that sexually objectify the female body. This link has not been empirically tested in a clinical sample of women with eating disorders. In the present effort, 209 women in residential treatment for eating disorders completed self-report measures of self-objectification, body shame, media influence, and drive for thinness on admission to treatment. Results demonstrated that the internalization of appearance ideals from the media predicted self-objectification, whereas using the media as an informational source about appearance and feeling pressured to conform to media ideals did not. Self-objectification partially mediated the relationship between internalized appearance ideals and drive for thinness; internalized appearance ideals continued to be an independent predictor of variance. In accordance with objectification theory, body shame partially mediated the relationship between self-objectification and drive for thinness in women with eating disorders; self-objectification continued to be an independent predictor of variance. These results illustrate the importance of understanding and targeting the experience of self-objectification in women with eating disorders or women at risk for eating disorders.

KEY WORDS:

self-objectification eating disorders internalization sociocultural 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rachel M. Calogero
    • 1
    • 3
  • William N. Davis
    • 1
  • J. Kevin Thompson
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyThe Renfrew Center Foundation, Syracuse UniversitySyracuse
  2. 2.University of South FloridaTampa
  3. 3.Department of PsychologySyracuse UniversitySyracuse

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