Interest in Cosmetic Surgery and Body Image: Views of Men and Women across the Lifespan

California State University, Los Angeles, Los Ángeles, California, United States
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (Impact Factor: 2.99). 11/2007; 120(5):1407-15. DOI: 10.1097/01.prs.0000279375.26157.64
Source: PubMed


Little is known about interest in cosmetic surgery among the general public or how this interest is related to gender, age, relationship status, body mass index, or body image satisfaction.
The present study tested these associations among a sample of 52,677 heterosexual men and women aged 18 to 65 years who completed the online "ELLE/ Sex and Body Image Survey" in 2003.
Many women were interested (48 percent) or possibly interested (23 percent) in cosmetic surgery. A substantial minority of men were also interested (23 percent) or possibly interested (17 percent) in cosmetic surgery. Individuals interested in cosmetic surgery did not report poorer global body image than individuals not interested in cosmetic surgery. Individuals specifically interested in liposuction, however, tended to have poorer body image, and interest in liposuction was greater among heavier individuals.
The finding that many women and men are interested in cosmetic surgery has implications for research comparing cosmetic surgery patients to individuals drawn from the general population. Specifically, researchers conducting comparative studies should recognize that many individuals in their control group may be strongly interested in cosmetic surgery, even if they have not yet had any. Furthermore, individuals interested in different types of cosmetic surgery may differ from each other on such attributes as body mass index and body image.

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    • "Finally, analyses of gender differences indicated average cosmetic surgery consideration scores of young Chinese women and men did not differ, in contrast to studies favoring women's greater overall interest and acceptance in studies of samples in the U.S. (e.g., Frederick et al., 2007) and U.K. "
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    • "Viewership of TV programs about cosmetic surgery has both in surveys and in experimental studies been found to be associated with one's own interest in having cosmetic surgery (Delinsky, 2005; Markey & Markey, 2010; Mazzeo, Trace, Mitchell, & Gow, 2007; Sperry, Thompson, Sarwer, & Cash, 2009). Other factors, such as investment in appearance and/or poor body image (Brown, Furnham, Glanville, & Swami, 2007; Frederick et al., 2007; Henderson-King & Henderson-King, 2005; Sarwer et al., 2005; Swami, 2009; von Soest et al., 2006) have also been associated with such an interest. In a previous community study, where we examined predictors of an interest in specific cosmetic surgery procedures (Jávo & Sørlie, 2010), women's interest in liposuction was predicted by having low education, being divorced/separated, having children, teasing history, poor body image, symptoms of body dysmorphic disorder, having been recommended cosmetic surgery, and knowing someone who have had cosmetic surgery. "
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this paper was to examine predictors of an interest in liposuction among women with eating problems. A questionnaire was sent to 3500 women aged 18-35 years, whereof 378 of 1861 responders screened positively on eating problems. Assessments included sociodemographic status, social network, physical exercise, attitudes towards cosmetic surgery, teasing history, body dysmorphic disorder-like symptoms, body image, self-esteem, personality, interpersonal attachment and emotional distress. Fifty-two percent reported an interest in liposuction, which was independently predicted by appearance orientation, appearance evaluation, being critical/quarrelsome, teasing history, wish for a better relationship with father, low education and being unmarried. Predictors differed somewhat from those previously found in the general population. Considering that our sample consisted of women with self-reported eating problems, the association between liposuction and eating behaviors should be further examined in a sample of patients with a formal eating disorder diagnosis.
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