The role of self-objectification and self-esteem in sexual initiation.
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The Role of Self-Objectification and Self-Esteem in Sexual Initiation. (May 2014) Adriana Gramsas Department of Psychology Texas A&M University Research Advisor: Dr. Sherecce Fields Department of Psychology Sexual behaviors that contribute to unintended pregnancy and STIs is one of the top six health risk behaviors that contribute to death and disability among adolescents. Earlier sexual initiation has been linked to subsequent engagement in high risk sexual behavior. Researchers have examined critical factors associated with sexual risk taking, including self-objectification. Self-objectification has been linked to sexual self-esteem which was associated with higher levels of engagement in sexual activity. Though the exact mechanism though which this occurs remains unknown. To better understand the effects of self-objectification and self-esteem on sexual initiation in emerging adults, the present study aimed to investigate the role of self-objectification and self-esteem in predicting age of sexual initiation across the sexual timetable. Emerging adults were presented with self-report assessments of self-objectification and self-esteem, as well as a retrospective questionnaire on age of sexual initiation. Results showed that self-esteem did not mediate the relationship between self-objectification and sexual initiation. However, self-objectification and self-esteem appeared to be independent risk factors of sexual initiation. Self-objectification, specifically appearance control was associated with the initiation of French Kissing, touch penis, vaginal sex, and sexting. Body shame was associated with the initiation of anal sex. Self-esteem was associated with the initiation of more intimate sexual behavior including vaginal sex, anal sex and sexting. These results should inform future research to explore intra-individual factors, especially self-objectification to enhance the specificity of education-, prevention-, and treatment programs.
Gramsas, Adriana Elena (2014). The role of self-objectification and self-esteem in sexual initiation.. Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. Available electronically from