Date of Award

8-2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Psychology

Major Professor

Dawn Szymanski

Committee Members

Brent Mallincrokt, Victor Barr, Allison Anders, Jake Levy

Abstract

Objectification Theory (Frederickson & Roberts, 1997) provides a framework for understanding the experiences of women living in a culture that sexualizes the female body. The purpose of this study was to extend the tenets of Objectification Theory by postulating that external and internalized experiences of sexual objectification may be related to women’s substance abuse in a sample of 289 young adult females. Findings indicated that sexual objectification experiences and self-objectification were both positively correlated with alcohol abuse. Sexual objectification was also positively correlated with nicotine abuse and other drug abuse. Furthermore, the findings provided support for a theorized mediated model in which sexual objectification was linked to women’s substance abuse both directly and indirectly via self-objectification, body shame, and depression.

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