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Dev Psychol. 2001 Mar;37(2):243-53.

Body image across the life span in adult women: the role of self-objectification.

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School of Psychology, Flinders University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia.


This study aimed to investigate women's body image across the entire life span from within the theoretical perspective provided by objectification theory (B. L. Fredrickson & T.-A. Roberts, 1997). In a cross-sectional study, a sample of 322 women ranging in age from 20 to 84 years completed a questionnaire measuring body dissatisfaction, self-objectification, and its proposed consequences. Although body dissatisfaction remained stable across the age range, self-objectification, habitual body monitoring, appearance anxiety, and disordered eating symptomatology all significantly decreased with age. Self-objectification was found to mediate the relationship between age and disordered eating symptomatology. It was concluded that objectification theory helps clarify the processes involved in the changes in body image that occur with age.

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