Considering a Self-Objectification, Interoceptive Awareness, and Disordered Eating Mediation Model Across Racial/Ethnic Groups of Women
Objectification theory posits that women’s bodies are observed and evaluated so frequently that some women learn to detach from and monitor their own bodies, a process known as self-objectification. Self-objectification has been linked to depression, body shame, decreased flow and motivation, and eating disorders. Based on the well-established relationship between self-objectification and disordered eating, the present study analyzed interoceptive deficits (i.e., lack of awareness toward bodily states) as a potential mediator for this link in Hispanic, Black, and White women. Self-report surveys on self-objectification, interoceptive awareness, and disordered eating were administered to 885 female college students (71.6% White, 13.3% Hispanic, and 15.0% Black). While interoceptive deficits did not mediate the relationship between self-objectification and disordered eating in the total sample or any racial/ethnic group, low interoception directly predicted disordered eating in the total sample and for White, Hispanic, and Black women independently. Self-objectification also predicted disordered eating in the total sample and among White and Hispanic participants. However, self-objectification was significantly lower among Black participants and did not significantly predict disordered eating. As research on the relationship between self-objectification, interoception, and disordered eating has yielded mixed findings, this study highlights the need for more comprehensive measures of interoceptive awareness. Additionally, group differences in disordered eating pathways illustrate key racial and ethnic differences in the experience of self-objectification.
Schwartz, Tamar J, "Considering a Self-Objectification, Interoceptive Awareness, and Disordered Eating Mediation Model Across Racial/Ethnic Groups of Women" (2022). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI29323675.