Body Objectification

Body Objectification - Psychology of Women Quarterly...

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Psychology of Women Quarterly, 31 (2007), 164–175. Blackwell Publishing, Inc. Printed in the USA. Copyright C 2007 Division 35, American Psychological Association. 0361-6843/07 BODY OBJECTIFICATION AND DEPRESSION IN ADOLESCENTS: THE ROLE OF GENDER, SHAME, AND RUMINATION Shelly Grabe, Janet Shibley Hyde, and Sara M. Lindberg University of Wisconsin–Madison Objectification theory posits that the tendency to view oneself as an object to be looked at and evaluated by others negatively affects girls’, but not boys’, subjective well-being. Although it has been established that women self-objectify more than men, research in this area has been limited to the study of adult college women. The aim in the current longitudinal study was to investigate the role of body shame and rumination in the link between self-objectification and depression among a community sample of girls and boys at ages 11 and 13. Results indicated that adolescent girls reported higher levels of self-objectification, body shame, rumination, and depression than boys. The findings support a model in which body shame and rumination mediate a direct relation between self-objectification and depression among girls; developmentally, the gender difference in self-objectification appears before the gender differences in rumination and depression. A large body of research indicates that higher rates of depression are found among women than men in West- ern industrialized cultures. In addition, research shows that within all cultures that endorse a thin female body ideal women experience more depression than do men (Nolen-Hoeksema, 1987). Moreover, rates of depression increase dramatically for girls during adolescence (Twenge & Nolen-Hoeksema, 1998), and by age 15 there are twice as many depressed girls as boys (Hankin et al., 1998). It has been suggested that, during puberty, girls’ bodies move away from the thin ideal, and this contributes to a level of body dissatisfaction that may be one source of the high rates of depression found among girls during adolescence (e.g., Nolen-Hoeksema, 1994; Stice, Hayward, Cameron, Killen, & Taylor, 2000). Indeed, social psychologists have long maintained that societal criteria (e.g., body ideals) may become internalized and provide standards by which indi- viduals appraise their own self-worth (Bandura, 1991). In Western cultures, high value is placed upon physical beauty; physically attractive individuals are seen as more socially competent, mentally healthy, and intelligent (for reviews, see Eagly, Ashmore, Makhijani, & Longo, 1991; Feingold, 1992; Jackson, Hunter, & Hodge, 1995). This is particularly Shelly Grabe, Janet Shibley Hyde, and Sara M. Lindberg, De- partment of Psychology, University of Wisconsin–Madison. This researchwassupportedbyNationalInstitutegrantF32MH71971- 02 to Shelly Grabe. Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Shelly Grabe, Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin, 1202 W.
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