An experimental study on women to understand negative mood, appearance anxiety, body dissatisfaction, and body shame considering adlerian theory and objectification theory

Thesis Type: Doctorate

Institution Of The Thesis: Orta Doğu Teknik Üniversitesi, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Department of Psychology, Turkey

Approval Date: 2017




Objectification theory posits that women internalize males’ sexualizing gaze on them and they begin to pay more attention to their appearance than their feelings. This phenomenon is called self-objectification and it has some psychological and experiential costs, such as increased risk of eating disorders. Likewise, Adlerian theory suggests that women are exposed to masculine superiority persistently in many domains of life. Societal norms require them to be thin and to accept culturally-defined beauty ideals to get accepted. However, these beauty ideals are determined by male-dominated sectors and they are often unattainable. Efforts to fit in these ideals generally fail. Thereby, women feel persistent inferiority and experience depression and anxiety. This study was a 3 (type of gaze) x 2 (clothes) within-subjects study to examine the effects of type of gaze and clothes on state self-objectification, body dissatisfaction, body shame, appearance anxiety, and negative mood. Six different imagined scenarios were used to affect dependent variables. Moderator roles of body mass index (BMI) and trait self-objectification (SO) were further examined. In study I, Self-Objectification Questionnaire and Body Consciousness Scales were satisfactorily adapted to Turkish language. In study II, experimental manipulations were conducted in a laboratory setting. All dependent variables were significantly affected by clothes. Body shame, negative mood, appearance anxiety, and state SO were significantly affected by type of gaze. Interaction effects were significant for body dissatisfaction and negative mood. BMI and trait SO did not moderate the effect of clothes on state SO. Findings and their implications, as well as the strengths and limitations of the studies, were discussed in the light of the literature.