The objectification of women and girls pervades most aspects of American culture including mass media communication, interpersonal communication, and the design, development, and marketing of consumer products. State self-objectification has also been found to negatively affect men. The primary aim of the present study is to examine the psychophysiological impact of state self-objectification as a function of gender. The secondary aim is to investigate psychological predictors of negative outcomes following state self-objectification. Forty three undergraduate men and women participated with ages ranging from 18 to 25.
Participants completed a demographic questionnaire, the Eating Disorder Examination-Questionnaire, the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, the Body Shape Questionnaire-Shortened Version, and the Self-Objectification Questionnaire. A “within subjects” design was utilized to assess swimsuit versus non-swimsuit stress responses, while a “between subjects” design was utilized to assess differences in stress responses between genders. Stress response was assessed via spectral analysis of ECG data. HF/LF ratio was examined as an indictor of sympathetic stress response. Results indicate a statistically significant interaction occurred as a function of gender and condition. Female participants showed an increased stress response in the swimsuit condition compared to the non-swimsuit condition. Male participants showed a reversed trend. Time 1 body dissatisfaction, self-esteem, eating disorder symptomatology, and trait self-objectification predicted state anxiety, body dissatisfaction, negative effect, and positive effect for women following clothing try-on. These predictors were not statistically significant for men. Women showed heightened state anxiety, increased body dissatisfaction, and lower positive effect following clothing try-on compared to males.
Katerine Read, ’09 Cedar Rapids, IA
Chris Davids, ’09 Louisville, CO
Majors: Psychology, Spanish
David Kugler, ’09 Gering, NE
Majors: Psychology, Sociology
Amanda Jepson, ’09 Wayland, IA
Ashley Stillman, ’09 Overland Park, KS
Kelly Siglin, ’10 Lingle, WY
Sponsor: Melinda Green