Date of Award

8-2018

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Psychology

Major Professor

Dawn M. Szymanski

Committee Members

Donna M. Braquet, Joseph R. Miles, Gina P. Owens

Abstract

The current study examined potential mediators (i.e., internalization of cultural standards of beauty, engaging in upward and downward appearance comparisons, and receiving positive and negative appearance-related commentary) and moderators (i.e., feminist beliefs) of the links between the use of Instagram and self-objectification and body surveillance among 524 young adult undergraduate women from the Southeast United States. Results revealed that internalization of cultural standards of beauty and engaging in upward appearance comparisons uniquely mediated the Instagram usage and self-objectification/body surveillance links. Additionally, findings from the moderation analyses indicated that the direct effect of Instagram usage on body surveillance was contingent on feminist beliefs, such that this relationship was only significant among women with low feminist beliefs or at the mean of feminist beliefs. This finding suggests that feminist beliefs play a buffering or protective role whereas low feminist beliefs play an intensifying role. Implications and future directions are discussed.

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