Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Ruschelle Leone, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Kevin Swartout, Ph.D.


Sexual objectification, or placing primary value on women’s bodies as objects that exist solely for male pleasure, is exceedingly common across several social and cultural contexts. Many women internalize these messages which can lead to self-objectification. However, it is unclear if other experiences, including sexual violence victimization, also contribute to self-objectification. It might be that such relationships are only present among women who also hold false beliefs which shift the blame of sexual violence from perpetrators and onto victims (i.e., rape myth acceptance). The present study sought to examine these associations. In an online self-report study, 139 undergraduate women between the ages of 18 and 29 who attended a large southeastern public university completed measures of sexual violence victimization, rape myth acceptance, and self-objectification. A hierarchical linear regression examined the independent and joint effects of sexual violence victimization and rape myth acceptance on self-objectification. Sexual violence victimization was significantly associated with self-objectification [B = .28; p < .001, (CI 95%: 0.17, 0.64)], although this was not moderated by rape myth acceptance. During exploratory post hoc analyses, a Body Evaluation x Rape Myth Acceptance interaction was detected [B = .22, p = .015, (CI 95%: .03, .24)] and indicated that body evaluation and self-objectification were significantly and positively associated when women were higher in rape myth acceptance (b = .26, p < .001), but not lower (b = -.01, p = .903). Overall, these findings contribute to a better understanding of the knowledge gap regarding self-objectification, and they indicate that rape myth acceptance might be an important target of public health intervention to mitigate the effects of sexual violence victimization on self-objectification.


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Available for download on Wednesday, April 30, 2025