The effect of sexual objectification on dishonesty

Kai Tak POON, Hill Son LAI, Shun Wai Rheal CHAN

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


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. Copyright © 2023 The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1617-1629
JournalArchives of Sexual Behavior
Early online dateFeb 2023
Publication statusPublished - May 2023


Poon, K.-T., Lai, H.-S., & Chan, R. S. W. (2023). The effect of sexual objectification on dishonesty. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 52, 1617-1629. doi: 10.1007/s10508-023-02560-3


  • Sexual objectification
  • Relative deprivation
  • Self-regulation
  • Dishonesty


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