Testing objectification theory with Chinese undergraduate women and men

Yong Zheng1, Qingqing Sun1
1Faculty of Psychology, Southwest University, People’s Republic of China
Cite this article:  Zheng, Y., & Sun, Q. (2017). Testing objectification theory with Chinese undergraduate women and men. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 45(4), 629-640.

Volume 45 Issue 4 | e5892 | Published: May 2017 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2017.45.4.

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We tested the applicability of objectification theory to the prediction of disordered eating and depressed mood among Chinese undergraduate students. Participants (N = 430) completed measures of body surveillance, body shame, appearance anxiety, level of internal awareness, flow, disordered eating, and depressed mood. Results of structural equation modeling revealed the model of objectification theory provided a poor fit to the data for both genders, but 2 exploratory models with good fit were generated after subsequent modification to the model. For women, body shame and appearance anxiety mediated the relationships among body surveillance, disordered eating, and depressed mood. Furthermore, body surveillance indirectly influenced women’s level of internal awareness and flow via body shame and appearance anxiety, which led to disordered eating and depressed mood. This pattern of relationships was similar for men, except for flow, which was not related to the outcome variables. We concluded that objectification theory is applicable to women and men in China.

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