Buffering an Objectifying Culture: Interpersonal Sexual Objectification, Self-Objectification, and Attachment Anxiety

Jian Jiao, Larissa Terán, Jennifer Stevens Aubrey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In this article, we report two studies that examined the dynamics between interpersonal sexual objectification, self-objectification, and individuals’ attachment in romantic relationships. Study 1 was based on data from 392 college students (Mage = 21.42 years, 66.8% women). Results showed positive associations between interpersonal sexual objectification, self-objectification, attachment anxiety, and attachment avoidance among women. For men, significant and positive associations were only observed between interpersonal sexual objectification and self-objectification and between self-objectification and attachment anxiety. Study 2 was a 6-month longitudinal study where we recruited participants through CloudResearch (n = 638, Mage = 24.26 years, 55.8% women at Time 1; n = 283, Mage = 24.43 years, 56.9% women at Time 2; return rate = 44.36%). Results from longitudinal analyses showed that women reported stronger stability in self-objectification than men, and for both women and men, their attachment anxiety predicted increased self-objectification. Additionally, in both studies, women reported higher levels of interpersonal sexual objectification, self-objectification, and attachment anxiety than men. Overall, the findings suggest that high-quality relationships may help buffer the negative effects engendered by an objectifying culture. Based on our results, we recommend that clinicians and parents work to foster secure and healthy relationships as a means of reducing the extensive negative repercussions of objectification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)438-453
Number of pages16
JournalPsychology of Women Quarterly
Volume46
Issue number4
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • attachment anxiety
  • attachment avoidance
  • interpersonal sexual objectification
  • romantic relationships
  • self-objectification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)

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