Perceived Humanization by Intimate Partners during Pregnancy Is Associated with fewer Depressive Symptoms, Less Body Dissatisfaction, and Greater Sexual Satisfaction through Reduced Self-Objectification

Rebecca L. Brock, Erin L. Ramsdell, Gemma Sáez, Sarah J. Gervais

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Consistent with objectification theory, the primary goal of the present study was to investigate the role of perceived humanization from one’s intimate partner as a predictor of depression (i.e., symptom severity), eating disorders (i.e., body dissatisfaction), and sexual dysfunction (i.e., dissatisfaction with quality of the sexual relationship) during pregnancy through decreased self-objectification. We tested our hypotheses within a dyadic framework, considering the respective contributions of humanization perceived by each partner to self-objectification and well-being in 159 U.S. heterosexual couples. Results converged with research linking partner humanization to lower levels of self-objectification in women. Further, feeling humanized by one’s partner also decreased self-objectification in men. Subsequently, lower levels of self-objectification were associated with lower levels of depressive symptoms and body dissatisfaction for both men and women and higher levels of sexual satisfaction for women. Our study also revealed the complex role of self-objectification in couple relationships: Less self-objectification by women, related to humanization from one’s partner, was associated with fewer depressive symptoms reported by their partners, but less self-objectification by men was, paradoxically, associated with more depressive symptoms reported by their partners. Results have implications for practitioners implementing couple and family interventions with pregnant women and their partners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSex Roles
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • Body dissatisfaction
  • Couples
  • Depression
  • Humanization
  • Partners
  • Pregnancy
  • Self-objectification
  • Sexual satisfaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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