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The Mediating Role of Appearance Comparisons in the Relationship Between Media Usage and Self-Objectification in Young Women

Vartanian, Lenny R.; Fardouly, Jasmine; Diedrichs, Phillippa C; Halliwell, Emma


Lenny R. Vartanian

Jasmine Fardouly

Emma Halliwell
Associate Professor in Psychology


© 2015, © The Author(s) 2015. The media’s portrayal of women is often sexually objectifying, and greater exposure to objectifying media is associated with higher levels of self-objectification among young women. One reason why media usage may be associated with self-objectification is because women may be comparing their appearance to others in the media. The present study examined (a) the relationship between the usage of different media types (online social media [Facebook], Internet, television, music videos, and magazines) and self-objectification among young women, (b) whether appearance comparison tendencies in general mediated any observed relationships, and (c) whether appearance comparisons to specific types of women on Facebook (self, family, close friends, distant peers, and celebrities) mediated any relationship between Facebook usage and self-objectification. Female participants (N = 150) aged 17–25 years completed questionnaires about their media usage, appearance comparison tendency in general, appearance comparisons to specific target groups on Facebook, and self-objectification. Results showed that Facebook usage and magazine usage were positively correlated with self-objectification and that these relationships were mediated by appearance comparisons in general. In addition, the relationship between Facebook usage and self-objectification was mediated by comparisons to one’s peers on Facebook. These findings suggest that appearance comparisons can play an important role in self-objectification among young women.


Vartanian, L. R., Fardouly, J., Diedrichs, P. C., & Halliwell, E. (2015). The Mediating Role of Appearance Comparisons in the Relationship Between Media Usage and Self-Objectification in Young Women. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 39(4), 447-457.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2015
Journal Psychology of Women Quarterly
Print ISSN 0361-6843
Electronic ISSN 1471-6402
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 39
Issue 4
Pages 447-457
Keywords self-objectification, media usage, magazines, Facebook, appearance-related social comparisons, peers, body image
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