Birds of a Feather Flock Together: The Interpersonal Process of Objectification within Intimate Heterosexual Relationships
On the basis that objectification is a self-perpetuating phenomenon, we tested two new hypotheses about the role of objectification within ongoing, intimate heterosexual relationships. First, individuals who self-objectify and objectify others tend to have partners who also self-objectify and objectify others. Second, objectification within relationships is associated with reduced relationship quality. Furthermore, rather than relying on the perspective of only one dyad member, we applied the Actor-Partner Interdependence Model (APIM: Kenny et al. 2006) as a framework for hypothesis testing. That is, we collected data from both partners within the relationship on the same variables (n = 59 heterosexual couples). We found support for both hypotheses, but negligible evidence of gender differences in relations between self-objectification, objectification, and relationship quality. Finally, we applied the APIM to replicate previous research on relations among self-objectification, objectification of partner, and body- and self-esteem. Self-objectification and objectification of partner was unrelated to body esteem for both men and women. Self-objectification was associated with reduced self-esteem, irrespective of gender, but objectification of partner was not associated with partner’s self-esteem.
KeywordsSelf-objectification Objectification Relationship quality Romantic relationships Body esteem Self-esteem Dyadic data analysis APIM
We are grateful to an anonymous reviewer for suggesting the APIM, and for his/her guidance and patience in helping us implement it.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
The study received approval from our School ethics committee, and was conducted in accordance with APA ethical guidelines.
Conflict of Interest
The authors declared that they have no conflict of interest.
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