Measurement and Evaluation of Sexual Objectification

Anslinger J (2019)
Bielefeld: Universität Bielefeld.

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Bielefelder E-Dissertation | Englisch
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Abstract / Bemerkung
Despite a steadily growing number of social psychological studies on the sexual objectification of others, two essential aspects have been neglected, so far: First, research lacks a thoroughly validated instrument to assess individuals’ proclivity to sexually objectify others. Second, little evidence is available on how people evaluate individuals who engage in sexual objectification as well as individuals who are objectified. With a total of eight empirical studies, this dissertation seeks to close both research gaps.

Empirical Part I of this thesis describes the development and validation of the *Sexual Objectification of Others Inventory (SOOI)* within five studies (*N*Study 1 = 213, *N*Study 2 = 219, *N*Study 3 = 95, *N*Study 4 = 139, *N*Study 5 = 116). The scale consists of 11 items which were selected by applying exploratory factor analyses (see Study 1 and Study 2). The factor analyses identified two factors: Instrumental Objectification and Visual Objectification. Confirmatory factor analyses confirmed the two-factor model in most studies conducted. However, poor internal consistencies for the factor Instrumental Objectification throughout the studies indicated that it is recommendable to only draw on the overall SOOI score as a measure of sexual objectification proclivity. Reliability analysis showed largely good internal consistencies and evidenced a good test-retest reliability of the SOOI. Correlational analyses provided compelling evidence for the SOOI’s convergent validity. Moreover, demonstrating criterion validity, the scale was able to predict men’s outcomes on behavioral measures after a manipulation of their masculinity (see Study 5). By applying the SOOI to a sample from the LGBTQ* community, this thesis, moreover, demonstrates that the scale is able to assess sexual objectification proclivity of people of any gender and various sexual orientations (see Study 3). Additionally, Study 4 successfully administered an English version of the SOOI. To summarize, the SOOI is the first reliable and thoroughly validated measure of people’s sexual objectification proclivity. Future studies may want to improve the reliability of the two factors by item modification. Item modification would allow for creating an updated SOOI version with two functional subscales. The current SOOI is available in German and English and comes in three analogously worded versions, assessing sexual objectification toward women, men, and people in general.

With Empirical Part II, this thesis seeks to answer the open question of how people evaluate perpetrators and targets of sexual objectification. Three online studies were conducted (*N*Study 1 = 290, *N*Study 2 = 338, *N*Study 3 = 245) assessing attributed power, warmth, competence to as well as preferred social distance toward targets and perpetrators of sexual objectification. Furthermore, Study 2 and Study 3 investigated to what extent sexual objectification was perceived as an ethical issue in comparison to sexual harassment and control behaviors. Although social norm violation can lead to an increased attribution of power (see van Kleef et al., 2011), Studies 1-3 showed that perpetrators of sexual objectification were not perceived as more powerful due to their behavior. Correspondingly, targets of sexual objectification were not evaluated as less powerful. Results indicated that this outcome might reflect a bias similar to rape victim blame (e.g., Grubb & Turner, 2012). Furthermore, as hypothesized, sexual objectification was perceived as a less severe ethical issue than sexual harassment. Remarkably, however, sexual objectification was perceived on the same level of severity as the control behaviors. Research on ethical decision-making (Jones, 1991) suggests that participants might have attributed little negative consequences to sexual objectification, resulting in a reduced perception of severity. Studies 1-3 moreover demonstrated that male perpetrators were perceived as being less warm and competent than female perpetrators. Furthermore, people preferred more social distance toward male perpetrators than female ones. Attribution theory (Pryor, 1985) offers an explanation for this outcome: While objectifying and harassing behaviors by men can be attributed to their presumed misogyny, people lack an analogous schema to integrate and explain the same behavior by female perpetrators. However, future studies need to investigate why also male perpetrators of the control behaviors were evaluated more negatively compared to women.
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Anslinger J. Measurement and Evaluation of Sexual Objectification. Bielefeld: Universität Bielefeld; 2019.
Anslinger, J. (2019). Measurement and Evaluation of Sexual Objectification. Bielefeld: Universität Bielefeld. doi:10.4119/unibi/2936501
Anslinger, J. (2019). Measurement and Evaluation of Sexual Objectification. Bielefeld: Universität Bielefeld.
Anslinger, J., 2019. Measurement and Evaluation of Sexual Objectification, Bielefeld: Universität Bielefeld.
J. Anslinger, Measurement and Evaluation of Sexual Objectification, Bielefeld: Universität Bielefeld, 2019.
Anslinger, J.: Measurement and Evaluation of Sexual Objectification. Universität Bielefeld, Bielefeld (2019).
Anslinger, Julian. Measurement and Evaluation of Sexual Objectification. Bielefeld: Universität Bielefeld, 2019.
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2019-09-06T09:19:08Z
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