Sexual orientation differences in pathways from sociocultural and objectification constructs to body satisfaction: The U.S. Body Project I

David A. Frederick, Vivienne M. Hazzard, Lauren M. Schaefer, Rachel F. Rodgers, Allegra R. Gordon, Tracy L. Tylka, Jamie Lee Pennesi, Lexie Convertino, Michael C. Parent, Tiffany A. Brown, Emilio J. Compte, Catherine P. Cook-Cottone, Canice E. Crerand, Vanessa L. Malcarne, Jason M. Nagata, Marisol Perez, Eva Pila, J. Kevin Thompson, Stuart B. Murray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectification theory and the tripartite influence model provide useful frameworks for understanding the body image experiences of men and women. However, there is little systematic investigation of how sexual orientation moderates the links between these constructs and body image satisfaction. It has been hypothesized, for example, that the associations of surveillance (i.e., monitoring of one's appearance due to objectification by others) would be strongest for groups targeted by the male gaze (e.g., gay men, lesbian women, and bisexual men and women). Here we proposed an integrated sociocultural model and examined these pathways in multigroup structural equation models in a national sample of heterosexual, bisexual, and lesbian women (ns = 5395; 598; 213, respectively), and heterosexual, bisexual, and gay men (4869; 194; and 194, respectively) aged 18–65 years. Sexual orientation moderated some of these pathways. The most consistent pattern was that appearance pressures were internalized to a greater extent among bisexual participants. The pathways to poorer body image were generally similar among heterosexual and gay/lesbian men and women. These findings highlight the importance of examining sexual orientation-specific influences on body image across diverse groups, as well as the commonalities in the experiences of men and women across sexual orientations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-194
Number of pages14
JournalBody Image
Volume41
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Body image
  • Media effects
  • Objectification theory
  • Sexual orientation
  • Tripartite influence model

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