Robin Wollast http://orcid.org/0000-0001-5395-9969
Abigail R. Riemer http://orcid.org/0000-0002-0859-6705
Sarah J. Gervais http://orcid.org/0000-0002-2667-6370
Lusine Grigoryan http://orcid.org/0000-0002-2077-1975
Olivier Klein http://orcid.org/0000-0003-2737-8049
Date of this Version
Published in Self and Identity 2020
According to objectification theory, being treated as an object leads women to engage in self-objectification, which in turn increases body surveillance and body shame, impairing women’s mental health. While most studies focusing on self-objectification rely heavily on Western populations that emphasize individualism, the current work investigates the phenomenon of body surveillance and body shame in a cross-cultural framework, involving a comparison between American, Belgian, Russian, and Thai women (N = 605). This study aims to highlight two predictors – cultural orientation and self-compassion. Results indicate that greater endorsement of vertical individualism is related to body surveillance for American, Belgian, and Russian women; however, this relation occurred in the opposite direction for Thai women. Moreover, Americans’ higher levels of body surveillance and body shame coexist with less self-compassion, whereas the reverse was true for Thais. We also tested a complementary moderation model and found that the relation between body surveillance and body shame was moderated by self-compassion, further pointing to the important role of self-compassion in the model posited by objectification theory. As a result, discussion centers on a call for future research to more closely examine how self-objectification and its correlates unfold among women of various cultural backgrounds.
Includes Supplementary Materials.