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The effect of sexual objectification on dishonesty

Poon, K. T., Lai, H. S., & Chan, R. S. W. (In press). The effect of sexual objectification on dishonesty. Archives of Sexual Behavior.

2021 Impact Factor 4.897 | 5-year Impact Factor 4.772

2021 JCR Rank 31/131, Q1 in Psychology, Clinical


In daily life, women often experience various forms of sexual objectification such as being stared at in public settings and receiving unsolicited sexual remarks on social media. These incidents could have damaging effects on women’s physical and mental health, necessitating ways to respond to the experience. Researchers have provided burgeoning evidence demonstrating the effects of sexual objectification on various psychological, emotional, and cognitive outcomes. However, relatively few researchers have tested how sexually objectified people behaviorally react to the objectification experience. To address this knowledge gap, we aimed to test whether sexual objectification increases dishonesty among women and reveal one potential underlying psychological mechanism. We predicted that sexual objectification increases dishonesty serially through higher levels of relative deprivation and lower levels of self-regulation. We conducted two experiments (valid N = 150 and 279, respectively) to test the predictions and found that participants who experienced sexual objectification reported greater dishonest tendencies than those who did not (Experiments 1 and 2). Moreover, relative deprivation and self-regulation serially mediated the effect of sexual objectification on dishonesty (Experiment 2). In the current experiments, we highlight the essential role of relative deprivation and self-regulation in explaining how sexual objectification increases dishonesty and various related forms of antisocial behavior.

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