Longitudinal relationship between experience of sexual harassment and 2-year body image and weight outcomes in adolescence: mediation through self-objectification and psychological distress

Samantha Hayes, Alexandra Lonergan, Nora Trompeter, Kay Bussey, Phillipa Hay, Deborah Mitchison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: The current study investigated the experience of sexual harassment as a risk factor for weight gain and weight/shape concerns in a community sample of adolescents, with potential mediating factors self-objectification and psychological distress. Method: 1034 Australian adolescents (aged 11 to 19 years) from the EveryBODY longitudinal study of disordered eating pathology participated. Data were collected through online surveys annually for 3 years. Participants completed self-report measures of demographics, sexual harassment, psychological distress, self-objectification, weight/shape concerns and BMI percentile. Results: A parallel mediation model adjusting for baseline scores found no direct effect between baseline experiences of sexual harassment and change in BMI percentile or weight/shape concern after 2 years. Experiences of sexual harassment significantly increased self-objectification scores after 1 year in female adolescents. Subsequently, higher self-objectification significantly increased the risk of greater weight/shape concern after 1 year in female adolescents. However, no significant mediating relationship was found in the relationship between sexual harassment and weight/shape concern or BMI percentile for either gender. Psychological distress was found to be a clear risk factor for weight/shape concern in both genders after 1 year. Conclusions: Intervention programmes in schools should focus on developing policies to reduce sexual harassment, self-objectification and distress in adolescents. Level of evidence: Level IV, longitudinal multiple time series without intervention.

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Longitudinal relationship between experience of sexual harassment and 2-year body image and weight outcomes in adolescence: mediation through self-objectification and psychological distress'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this