Adonis on the apps: Online objectification, self-esteem, and sexual minority men

Aaron S. Breslow, Riddhi Sandil, Melanie E. Brewster, Mike C. Parent, Anthea Chan, Aysegul Yucel, Nicholas Bensmiller, Elizabeth Glaeser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

The recent proliferation of mobile dating applications ("apps") has led to profound shifts in the ways sexual minority men (SMM) connect with others and themselves (Anderson, Holland, Koc, & Haslam, 2018). These apps, which often categorize users by factors such as body build, may promote sexual harassment and objectification (Griffiths, Murray, Krug, & McLean, 2018), potentially compounding already disproportionate body image concerns among this population (Daniel & Bridges, 2010). To test relations of app use and online objectification, we examined a path model testing tenets of objectification theory (Fredrickson & Roberts, 1997) among a national sample of 230 SMM. We measured direct and indirect relations between patterns of app use (i.e., number of apps used, app use frequency), online objectification, internalization of sociocultural standards of attractiveness, two psychological reactions (i.e., body surveillance, body satisfaction), and self-esteem, a mental health risk particularly salient among SMM. The present study demonstrated support for expansions of objectification theory both online and among SMM. Regarding direct relations, number of apps used (though not app use frequency) was positively related with objectification, internalization, and body surveillance, and negatively related with body satisfaction and self-esteem. Variables yielded indirect relations via internalization, body surveillance, and body satisfaction. Implications of our findings, as well as limitations and implications for future research and practice, are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-35
Number of pages11
JournalPsychology of Men and Masculinity
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Body image
  • Objectification theory
  • Self-esteem
  • Sexual minority men
  • Social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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