Self-Objectification and its Biological, Psychological and Social Predictors: A Cross-Cultural Study in Four European Countries and Iran
Although scholars started investigating self-objectification more than twenty years ago, only a few studies focused on men and even fewer have taken into account the cross-cultural dimension. Our study focused on the antecedents of self-objectification paying attention to the role of biological and sociodemographic variables (gender, BMI), psychological characteristics (self-esteem, perfectionism) together with social and cultural factors (internalization of media standards, influence of family and friends). Self-objectification was operationalized as Body Shame and Body Surveillance. A self-reported questionnaire was administered to 2165 adults living in four European countries (UK, Italy, Poland and Romania) and Iran. Ten regression models were performed (2 per country) to analyse the correlates of self-objectification. Overall, self-objectification emerged as a process affected by factors entrenched in psychological, biological, social and cultural domains, partially different for Body Shame and Body Surveillance. Findings showed the key role of self-esteem as a protective factor against Body Shame across countries. On the other hand, the internalization of media standards emerged as risk factor for both Body Shame and Body Surveillance in the five countries. Taken together, these results underline the complexity of self-objectification and the need to deepen research on this topic among non-Western countries.