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Objectification theory proposes that widespread sexualization causes women to engage in surveillance of their appearance. We integrated this concept into a model with constructs from the tripartite influence model, which proposes that body dissatisfaction is a result of internalizing cultural notions of thin ideal beauty that stem from family, peer, and media appearance-related pressures. We tested this model with an online sample of 6327 adult women. Specifically, we tested whether these pressures predicted increased thin-ideal and muscular-ideal internalization, leading to greater body surveillance, and in turn lower appearance evaluation and body image quality of life. Structural equation modeling supported many aspects of the model. Family, peer, and media pressures related to higher thin-ideal internalization, which related to higher body surveillance and lower appearance evaluation. Peer and media pressures related to higher muscular-ideal internalization, which related to lower appearance evaluation. However, muscular-ideal internalization was not related to body image quality of life. An indirect relationship emerged between thin-ideal internalization and body image outcomes via body surveillance. Body mass index (BMI) moderated several of these model paths. Findings highlight the value of this integrated sociocultural model, and of BMI as an important moderating factor when examining objectification and tripartite influence models.


NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Body Image. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Body Image, volume 41, in 2022.

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Available for download on Thursday, March 14, 2024