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Objectified Body Consciousness in a Developing Country: A Comparison of Mothers and Daughters in the US and Nepal


Self-objectification (Fredrickson and Roberts 1997) has been related to negative psychological consequences in U.S. women. However, little cross-cultural research has been done. We compared convenience samples of American and Nepali women on two measures of self-objectification. Pairs of Nepali mothers and daughters (N = 23) and pairs of U.S. mothers and daughters (N = 24) completed a quantitative and a qualitative measure of self-objectification. Cultural and generational differences were found. Nepali women engaged in less self-surveillance than U.S. women. Older women engaged in less self-surveillance than younger women. Women in both cultures had high beliefs in their ability to control the body. An additional dimension of body consciousness, termed Functionality, was particularly important to younger Nepali women.

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Correspondence to Mary Crawford.



Body Consciousness Scale

Adapted from Objectified Body Consciousness Scale (McKinley and Hyde 1996)

Please rate the following statements on a scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree), by writing the number next to the statement.

Table 3

___1. I rarely think about how I look.

___2. I think it is more important that my clothes are comfortable than whether they look good on me.

___3. I think more about how my body feels than how my body looks.

___4. I rarely compare how I look with how other people look.

___5. During the day, I think about how I look many times.

___6. I often worry about whether the clothes I am wearing make me look good.

___7. I rarely worry about how I look to other people.

___8. I am more concerned with what my body can do than how it looks.

___9. When I can’t control my weight, I feel like something must be wrong with me.

___10. I feel ashamed of myself when I haven’t made the effort to look my best.

___11. I feel like I must be a bad person when I don’t look as good as I could.

___12. I would be ashamed for people to know what I really weigh.

___13. I never worry that something is wrong with me when I am not exercising as much as I should.

___14. When I’m not exercising enough, I question whether I am a good enough person.

___15. Even when I can’t control my weight, I think I’m an okay person.

___16. When I’m not the size I think I should be, I feel ashamed.

___17. I think a person is mostly stuck with the looks they are born with.

___18. A large part of being in shape is having that kind of body in the first place.

___19. I think a person can look how they want to if they are willing to work at it.

___20. I really don’t think I have much control over how my body looks.

___21. I think a person’s weight is mostly determined by the genes they are born with.

___22. It doesn’t matter how hard I try to change my weight, it’s probably always going to be about the same.

___23. I can weigh what I’m supposed to when I try hard enough.

___24. The shape you are in depends mostly on your genes.

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Crawford, M., Lee, IC., Portnoy, G. et al. Objectified Body Consciousness in a Developing Country: A Comparison of Mothers and Daughters in the US and Nepal. Sex Roles 60, 174–185 (2009).

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  • Self-objectification
  • Cross-cultural comparisons
  • Modernization
  • Globalization
  • Nepal
  • Nepalese women
  • Body image
  • Body consciousness
  • Mothers and daughters