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04-12-2019 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 2/2020

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 2/2020

The Relationship between the Use of Social Networking Sites and Sexually Explicit Material, the Internalization of Appearance Ideals and Body Self-Surveillance: Results from a Longitudinal Study of Male Adolescents

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 2/2020
Auteurs:
Sandra Sevic, Ana Ciprić, Vesna Buško, Aleksandar Štulhofer
Belangrijke opmerkingen
Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Abstract

Although there is now a substantial body of research suggesting a positive association between the exposure to sexualized content in the media and self-objectification/body surveillance, most of the studies have been cross-sectional, conducted in exclusively female samples, focused on the use of traditional media (e.g., printed magazines and TV), and have not assessed the role of the internalization of appearance ideals, which is potentially an important intervening variable in the relationship between media exposure and outcomes related to body concerns. Addressing the need for further assessments of self-objectification in more diverse samples, this study used five-wave longitudinal data to investigate the parallel changes in the use of social networking sites and sexually explicit material and the internalization of appearance ideals and body surveillance in Croatian adolescent men (Mage at baseline = 15.9, SD = 0.54; n= 743). Over a period of 22 months during the transition from middle to late adolescence, both the internalization of appearance ideals and body surveillance decreased. Furthermore, although the internalization of appearance ideals and body surveillance were associated both at baseline and over time, this study’s results did not indicate a longitudinal relationship between respectively the use of online social networking sites and sexually explicit material and either the internalization of appearance ideals or body surveillance among adolescent males. Overall, this study’s findings highlight the potential for a more specific assessment of the role of the use of social networking sites and sexually explicit material in self-objectification and body surveillance among young men. Future research may benefit from exploring the relationship between young men’s modes of engagement with and motives for the use of social networking sites and body surveillance, as well as the possible association between the use of sexually explicit material and competency-based self-objectification, in particular sexual body functionality.

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