Sex Roles

, Volume 80, Issue 5–6, pp 325–331 | Cite as

Selfie Posting on Social Networking Sites and Female Adolescents’ Self-Objectification: The Moderating Role of Imaginary Audience Ideation

  • Dong Zheng
  • Xiao-li NiEmail author
  • Yi-jun Luo
Original Article


Posting selfies on social networking sites (SNSs) has become an increasingly popular activity among adolescents, especially female adolescents. Given this popularity and relevant studies, the current study aimed to examine the association between selfie-posting on SNSs and self-objectification among Chinese female adolescents and to test whether an imaginary audience could moderate this relationship. A sample of 963 female adolescents aged 12–16 years-old who have an active Qzone (one of the most popular SNS in China) account were recruited to participate in the present study. Participants were asked to complete measures of selfie-posting frequency on SNSs, self-objectification, and imaginary audience ideation. The results revealed that selfie-posting on SNSs was positively associated with self-objectification, and this relation was moderated by imaginary audience ideation. Specifically, the influence of self-objectification on selfie-posting was stronger for young women with higher levels of imaginary audience ideation. These findings add to the extant literature by suggesting that selfie-posting on SNSs may be a new experience of sexual objectification online, which has some theoretical and practical implications.


Selfie-posting Self-objectification Imaginary audience ideation Female adolescents 



This work was supported by National Social Science Foundation of China (Project No. 15BSH023). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

All ethical guidelines for human subjects’ research were followed.

Conflict of Interest

All authors declare they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Humanities and Social ScienceXi’an Jiaotong UniversityXi’anPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Shaanxi University of Science & TechnologyXi’anChina
  3. 3.School of PsychologySouthwest UniversityChongqingChina

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