Date of Award

Spring 5-2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Maureen C. McHugh, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Laurie Roehrich, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Jessica Miller, Ph.D.

Abstract

This study responds to a call for interventions aimed at combatting the sexualization of girls and women in society, an increasing problem with numerous, negative consequences for women, men, and society in general (Zurbriggen et al., 2007). The current study involved the development, delivery, and evaluation of an intervention meant to educate women about sexual objectification and its consequences and decrease women’s reported enjoyment of sexualization. The intervention was grounded in feminist theory and included components of media literacy. A total of 161 undergraduate women participated in this study. A control group of women was compared against a treatment group on measures of knowledge of sexual objectification, feminist identity, objectified body consciousness, and enjoyment of sexualization. Results indicated that the intervention was successful at increasing knowledge of sexual objectification and sexualization, but it was not effective at decreasing enjoyment of sexualization. Furthermore, results of the evaluation showed that women rated the workshop highly. The current study extended on prior research of media literacy interventions for media sexualization (e.g., Reichert et al., 2007 and Moloney & Pelehach, 2013) by including a comparison group and measuring knowledge of and attitudes related to sexual objectification using several validated measures. Additionally, quotations and ideas expressed by college women during these workshops were reported, which can be considered a step toward adding college women’s voices to the discussion on sexual empowerment for young women.

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