Date of Award

Summer 8-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Virginia Consortium Program in Clinical Psychology

Committee Director

Robin J. Lewis

Committee Director

Kristin E. Heron

Committee Member

Desideria S. Hacker

Committee Member

Desideria S. Hacker

Committee Member

Cassie Glenn


Sexual minority women are at increased risk of negative outcomes compared to heterosexual women. Bisexual women report disparities when compared to both heterosexual and lesbian women. The disparities experienced by bisexual women also appear to vary based on the gender of their partner, with those partnered with men reporting more negative health outcomes than those partnered with women. One area in which heterosexual and sexual minority women’s experiences differ is in the experience of objectification or being treated as a body rather than a person. While objectification has been linked to negative outcomes, such as body shame and disordered eating behaviors, in heterosexual women, the findings regarding sexual minority women have been inconsistent, with little research on the experiences of bisexual women, specifically. The current study aimed to expand the literature on bisexual women’s experience of objectification and its relation to partner gender. Two groups of bisexual women, those currently in relationships with women and those currently in relationships with men, were recruited in order to test a model of objectification theory. Results indicated that objectification and discrimination were significantly related to disordered eating behaviors, but not to body surveillance or body shame. Additionally, partner gender moderated the association of discrimination with body surveillance, but no other hypothesized pathways. The results of this study suggest that the experiences of objectification and body image may be different for bisexual women compared to heterosexual and lesbian women.


The VIRGINIA CONSORTIUM PROGRAM IN CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY is a joint program of Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk State University, and Old Dominion University.


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