Objectification Theory and Its Relation to Disordered Eating: The Role of Feminist Attitudes and Internalization of Cultural Standards of Beauty
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The current study had three main objectives: to examine the relation between trait and state self-objectification and various eating pathology, including restricted eating; to examine the role of general and specific feminist attitudes on body dissatisfaction and trait disordered eating; and to merge two empirically supported models of eating disorders. Using a quasi-experimental research design with an elaborate cover story, one hundred and three women completed a variety of baseline measures and were assigned to one of two state self-objectifying conditions (swimsuit vs. sweater) where body image and body shame were measured at post. Additionally, following the manipulation, participants caloric intake during a snack break was measured. Results indicated that trait self objectification was associated with disordered eating symptomatology and analyses found an effect of condition on body shame, and that this effect was moderated by trait self-objectification. These results were not documented for caloric intake and body dissatisfaction, likely due to time of assessment of these variables. Also, results indicate that objectification theory and the dual pathways model merge well and that in the dual pathway, body shame may be a component of body dissatisfaction. Finally, feminist attitudes were also associated with body dissatisfaction but not with disordered eating symptoms. Implications for clinical work and future research are discussed.
Clarke, Analesa N. (2009). Objectification Theory and Its Relation to Disordered Eating: The Role of Feminist Attitudes and Internalization of Cultural Standards of Beauty. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from