Self-Objectification as a Dissociative Experience: Making the Connection between Media Internalization and Self-Harm
Date of Award
Bachelor of Science
Department Chair or Program Director
Erchull, Mindy J.
Major or Concentration
Society and the media put great emphasis on the female body as women are continuously objectified and reduced to mere objects to be looked at. Objectification may lead to the internalization of an outsider’s perspective, known as self-objectification, which may have serious consequences for women’s mental and physical health including eating disorders, low self-esteem, and depression. We anticipated that greater belief in sociocultural attitudes regarding the media would predict greater body surveillance and body shame which would then predict increased dissociation and subsequent feelings of depression and engagement in self-harm behaviors. A survey of 169 women was conducted. Results indicated that surveillance mediated the relationship between media variables and body shame. Additionally, dissociation mediated the relationship between surveillance and both depression and self-harm. Our research serves as the first indication that dissociation is inherently part of self-objectification and has important implications about the etiology of self-harming behaviors.
Lichiello, Stephanie C., "Self-Objectification as a Dissociative Experience: Making the Connection between Media Internalization and Self-Harm" (2011). Student Research Submissions. 25.