Department or Program



Based on objectification theory, this study investigated the relationship between body appreciation, self-objectification, and sexual agency in heterosexual and sexual minority women. This study hoped to elucidate a model of objectification and sexual health outcomes similar to that established by Claudat and Warren (2014); replicate the findings of Grower and Ward (2018) on the unique contributions of body appreciation to sexual agency; and fill the gap in the objectification literature identified by Kahalon et al. (2018) by investigating the effects of inducing a state of self-objectification based on safety concerns. In a cross-sectional design, 138 female college students ages 18-22 completed an online survey measuring objectification, body appreciation, and sexual agency, as well as one of three writing manipulations, to test whether self-objectification via the “sex object” schema activation mechanism could be induced (Kahalon, Shnabel, & Becker, 2018b). Hypotheses were tested using correlation analyses and mixed ANOVA. A series of multiple regression analyses were used to test the proposed model of the relationships between objectification, body appreciation, and sexual assertiveness. The results suggest no differences in key variables by sexual orientation. Moreover, trait-objectification was negatively related to body appreciation through self-surveillance. Body appreciation, in turn, was positively associated with sexual assertiveness. Body appreciation was also a unique predictor of other sexual health variables. Finally, the writing manipulation was unsuccessful in selectively inducing self-objectification based on safety concerns. Overall, the results of this study highlight the importance of cultivating body appreciation for women’s sexual and psychological well-being.

Level of Access

Restricted: Embargoed [Open Access After Expiration]

First Advisor

Low, K.G.

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages



Available to all on Wednesday, May 25, 2022