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Smile Pretty and Watch Your Back: Personal Safety Anxiety and Vigilance in Objectification Theory

Calogero, Rachel M., Tylka, Tracy L., Siegel, Jaclyn A., Pina, Afroditi, Roberts, Tomi-Ann (2020) Smile Pretty and Watch Your Back: Personal Safety Anxiety and Vigilance in Objectification Theory. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, . ISSN 0022-3514. E-ISSN 1939-1315. (doi:10.1037/pspi0000344) (KAR id:83168)


Objectification Theory posits that everyday encounters with sexual objectification carry a diffuse nonspecific

sense of threat that engenders personal safety anxiety in women. In this article, we provide direct evidence for

this tenet across 5 studies and 1,665 participants using multiple methods. Study 1 (N=207) and Study 2 (N=

161) explored and confirmed the factor structure of the Personal Safety Anxiety and Vigilance Scale

(PSAVS), a measure of personal safety anxiety, and provided evidence for the reliability and construct validity

of its scores. Study 3 (N=363) showed that personal safety anxiety is a conceptually different construct for

women and men, and differentially mediated the relation between sexual objectification and restricted freedom

of movement and the relation between self-objectification and restricted freedom of movement for women and

men. Study 4 (N=460) included a comprehensive test of personal safety anxiety within an expanded

Objectification Theory model, which supported personal safety anxiety as a mediator of the links from sexual

and self-objectification to women’s restricted freedom of movement. Study 5 (N=474) replicated these

results while also adjusting for specific fears of crime and rape. Our findings offer a newly validated

assessment tool for future research on safety anxiety, illuminate the real and lasting sense of threat engendered

by everyday sexual objectification, and broaden understanding of the mental and physical constraints on

women’s lived experiences posited in Objectification Theory.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1037/pspi0000344
Uncontrolled keywords: safety anxiety, sexual objectification, threat, scale validation, Objectification Theory
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Afroditi Pina
Date Deposited: 10 Oct 2020 11:25 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2024 17:12 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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