Up for Grabs? Sexual Objectification as a Mediator Between Women’s Alcohol Use and Sexual Victimization

Michelle Haikalis, David DiLillo, Sarah J. Gervais

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

Sexual objectification, the tendency to reduce women to their bodies, body parts, or sexual functions for use by others, has been theorized to set the stage for more severe acts of violence but has been largely absent from the existing sexual victimization literature. The purpose of this study was to explore the role of sexual objectification in mediating the well-established link between women’s alcohol use and sexual victimization. A large sample of undergraduate women (N = 673) reported their alcohol use (frequency and quantity), experiences of sexual objectification (body evaluation and unwanted explicit sexual advances), and sexual victimization. Results indicated positive bivariate correlations among all study variables. Path analyses showed that mild forms of sexual objectification (body evaluation) mediated the link between the frequency of alcohol use and more extreme forms of sexual objectification (unwanted advances). Furthermore, the combined effect of sexual objectification (body evaluation and unwanted advances) mediated the link between alcohol use (frequency and quantity) and sexual victimization. The current findings are among the first to evaluate sexual objectification as a mechanism in the link between alcohol use and sexual victimization. Results suggest that efforts to prevent alcohol-related sexual violence may benefit from addressing sexual objectification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-488
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Volume32
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017

Keywords

  • alcohol use
  • sexual assault
  • sexual objectification
  • sexual victimization
  • women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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