Measuring internalized sexualization among pre- and early adolescent girls
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The sexual content of media aimed at pre- and early adolescents (including magazines, movies, TV shows, and websites) has increased dramatically in recent years. Psychologists have expressed concern that exposure to such material leads to “internalized sexualization.” A recent APA Task Force (2007) called on researchers to study sexualization among pre- and early adolescent girls to understand its effect on development. In this master’s thesis, I developed the first known measure of internalized sexualization. The scale was demonstrated to be internally reliable and valid. The scale was also used to examine the relation between internalized sexualization and academic achievement. A strong negative relation was found between the two constructs; girls with higher levels of internalized sexualization have poorer academic achievement than girls with lower levels of internalized sexualization. The implications of the findings are discussed and future directions for research are suggested.