Media exposure, extracurricular activities, and appearance-related comments as predictors of female adolescents’ self-objectification
Slater, Amy Elise
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Our study examined three potential predictors of self-objectification in female adolescents, namely media exposure, extracurricular activities, and appearance-related comments (both positive and negative). Participants were 1,087 female adolescents ranging in age from 12 to 16, who completed questionnaire measures of media exposure (television, magazines, Internet, and social networking), time spent on extracurricular activities, positive and negative appearance-related comments, self-objectification, self-surveillance, body shame, and disordered eating. Tests of the hypothesized path model revealed that self-reported exposure to magazines and social networking sites each independently was associated positively with self-objectification. In addition, positive appearance-related comments were shown to be associated positively with self-objectification. On the other hand, time spent on extracurricular activities was not related to self-objectification. The results offer support for the role of media exposure and appearance-related comments in the development of self-objectification in female adolescents. In particular, the results suggest that positive appearance-related comments (compliments) may be just as, or even more, likely to give rise to self-objectification as negative appearance-related comments. The findings suggest practical strategies for the potential protection of the development of self-objectification and its deleterious consequences.