Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Drawing on a sample of low-income African American and Latina girls, the goal of the present investigation was to examine the relevance of self-objectification and self-surveillance to body dissatisfaction and self-worth. Body mass index (BMI), ethnicity, and perceived athletic competence were examined as moderators of these relations. Participants were 10- to 14-year-old African American and Latina girls recruited from a summer camp targeting low-income, urban girls. Surveys that include measures of self-objectification, self-surveillance, body dissatisfaction, self-worth, and perceived athletic competence were individually administered to participants by a research assistant. Height and weight were measured to calculate BMI. Ethnicity information was obtained from surveys completed by parents. Results indicated that self-objectification and self-surveillance were related, and older girls reported higher levels of each. No main effects of self-objectification were found, however, higher levels of self-surveillance were associated with lower self-worth. Among African American girls with higher BMI, self-objectification was associated with less body dissatisfaction. Among Latina girls with higher perceived athletic competence, higher self-objectification was associated with lower self-worth. Findings indicate that self-objectification and self-surveillance are indeed experienced by low-income, ethnic minority girls and increase across the transition to adolescence. Self-surveillance may be particularly important to address in interventions targeting self-worth of ethnic minority girls. Finally, results suggest the importance of ethnicity, BMI, and perceived athletic competence in understanding how self-objectification and self-surveillance relate to well-being among ethnic minority girls.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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