Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award

8-2022

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Psychology

Major Professor

Dawn M. Szymanski

Committee Members

Dawn M. Szymanski, Gina P. Owens, Joe Miles, Jennifer Ann Morrow

Abstract

Although there is a sizeable body of research identifying the gender convergence of drinking rates, fewer studies have explored factors contributing to women’s increasing alcohol consumption. Consequently, scholars have called for more research on gender-related predictors of women’s drinking behaviors and associated consequences (Iwamoto et al., 2018). One potential gender-relevant factor is self-objectification or the perspective toward the self that the body is primarily valued for its appearance and sexual appeal (Frederickson & Roberts, 1997). Thus, our study investigated the link between self-objectification and young adult college women’s alcohol use and alcohol use prior to casual sexual activity or “hooking up.” In addition, our study examined novel explanatory (i.e., body shame, sexual self-esteem, body self-consciousness during sexual activity, and alcohol sexual enhancement expectancies) factors in predicting young adult college women’s drinking behaviors via a parallel-serial multiple mediation model. Findings revealed that self-objectification was not directly related to alcohol use or alcohol use prior to hooking up. However, self-objectification was indirectly related to alcohol use through sexual self-esteem and alcohol sexual enhancement expectancies, as well as indirectly related to alcohol use prior to hooking up through alcohol sexual enhancement expectancies. None of our theorized three-stage mediation chains linking self-objectification to alcohol use behaviors were significant. Our results highlight the potential negative effects of self-objectification on women’s health and the significance of focusing on alcohol sexual enhancement expectancies in intervention efforts.

Available for download on Tuesday, August 15, 2023

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