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Women’s Perceptions and Use of “Anti-Aging” Products


Abstract and Figures

Recent advances in the cosmetics industry have accelerated the availability of products marketed as “anti-aging.” Our research goals were to identify the factors that predict women’s purchase of these products, and to gain insight into women’s perceptions of the anti-aging market. Three hundred and four Canadian women were surveyed about their use of anti-aging products, body satisfaction, aging anxiety, appearance importance, sociocultural pressures and self-esteem, as well as open-ended responses about their perceptions of anti-aging products. Greater aging anxiety and higher importance of appearance were related to greater likelihood of purchasing anti-aging products. Women also described an interesting paradox whereby they report using these products while remaining critical of media messages and embracing the idea of natural aging. KeywordsWomen-Anti-aging products-Cosmeceuticals-Appearance-Skin care
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Womens Perceptions and Use of Anti-AgingProducts
Amy Muise &Serge Desmarais
#Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010
Abstract Recent advances in the cosmetics industry have
accelerated the availability of products marketed as anti-
aging.Our research goals were to identify the factors that
predict womens purchase of these products, and to gain
insight into womens perceptions of the anti-aging market.
Three hundred and four Canadian women were surveyed
about their use of anti-aging products, body satisfaction,
aging anxiety, appearance importance, sociocultural pressures
and self-esteem, as well as open-ended responses about their
perceptions of anti-aging products. Greater aging anxiety and
higher importance of appearance were related to greater
likelihood of purchasing anti-aging products. Women also
described an interesting paradox whereby they report using
these products while remaining criticalof media messagesand
embracing the idea of natural aging.
Keywords Women .Anti-aging products .Cosmeceuticals .
Appearance .Skin care
The purpose of this study is to determine the factors that
influence womensdecisiontopurchaseanti-agingskin care
products and the ideas they hold about these products. Past
research has identified several psychological factors that are
important in the decision to have a cosmetic procedure.
However, the role of these factors in the decision to purchase
anti-aging products has not been researched. A regression
analysis is used to explore how body satisfaction, aging
anxiety, importance of appearance, sociocultural pressures
and self-esteem contribute to the decision to purchase anti-
aging products in a sample of Canadian women. The growing
nature of the anti-aging movement makes this research topic
relevant to women in various countries across the world.
Gaining control over aging has been a human ambition
since early civilization (Gruman, 1966/2003), and these
efforts flourish today, perhaps more than ever (Binstock et
al. 2006). Increased accessibility to cosmetic surgeries, the
development of several new non-surgical cosmetictreatments,
and a new market of scientifically tested anti-agingproducts
have provided new ways to respond to an aging appearance.
In the medical community, anti-aging refers to a movement
that redefines aging as a target for biomedical intervention
(Mykytyn 2006). From a social perspective, the anti-aging
movement reflects a shift from aging as a natural process
experienced by all to a process that is met with increasing
cultural disdain, and one that should be remedied (Bayer
2005). North Americans are exposed to an idealized image
of beauty in the media, and this image often equates beauty
with a youthful appearance. The impact of these messages falls
disproportionately on women (Hargreaves and Tiggemann
2004), since there seems to be a double standard of aging
whereby aging is seen as negative for womens appearance,
but as neutral or positive for mens appearance (Halliwell and
Dittmar 2003). As a result, older women are underrepresented
and more negatively portrayed in popular movies (Bazzini et
al. 1997) and television commercials (Ganahl et al. 2003)
than older men. Women also report higher discrepancies
between their real and ideal self in relation to body image,
compared to men (Muth and Cash 1997). These findings may
partially explain why the vast majority of people who pursue
cosmetic procedures and use anti-aging products are women.
A. Muise (*):S. Desmarais
Department of Psychology, University of Guelph,
50 Stone Road East,
Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G2W1
Sex Roles
DOI 10.1007/s11199-010-9791-5
Hurd Clarke and Griffin (2008) use the term beauty
workto refer to the range of appearance-enhancing
products and procedures available to women, including
cosmetic surgeries, hair dye, make-up and non-surgical
procedures such as Botox®. One motivation for using these
products is in an attempt to conceal or reverse the signs of
aging. Within this body of literature a debate exists among
theorists about the nature of womens intentions for engaging
in beauty work. One side argues that women who engage in
beauty work do so in passive adherence of the cultural
standards of beauty for women in a patriarchal society,
whereas the other suggests that womens use of appearance-
enhancing procedures is a freely chosen endeavor that can
have empowering effects (See Negrin 2002 for a review).
Qualitative studies in this area elucidate North American
womens views regarding the various types of beauty-related
procedures available to obtain a more youthful appearance.
Wome n rep o r t t h a t anti-wrinklecreams fit in with the idea
of aging naturally, while cosmetic surgeries and non-surgical
procedures such as Botox® often do not (Hurd Clarke and
Griffin 2007). This line of research exposes the nuances of
womens ideas about cosmetic procedures as opposed to
positioning the experience as either oppressive or liberating.
Attempts to control aging have become increasingly
linked to science and medicine, and the cosmetic industry is
capitalizing on this trend by giving its products a more
scientific appearance. For instance, a new buzzword in the
cosmetics industry is the term cosmeceutical,which
represents the marriage of cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.
That is, cosmeceuticals are cosmetic products with biolog-
ically active ingredients purporting to have medical or
drug-like benefits. Often, these products are marketed as
having anti-aging effects. Dermatological research suggests
that the bioactive ingredients used in cosmeceuticals do
indeed have benefits beyond the traditional moisturizer (e.g.,
Chen et al. 2005). However, despite the reports of benefits
from some cosmeceutical products, the term cosmeceutical
remains a marketing term, as there are no requirements to
prove that the products actually live up to their claims.
Therefore, it is up to the consumer to decide whether these
claims are valid and worth the cost.
Although we have seen exponential growth in anti-aging
medicine and products, the behaviors and attitudes of the
consumers of these products have gone virtually unstudied
(Binstock et al. 2006). Marketing research presented in the
popular media suggests that women over the age of 50 are
prepared to use anti-aging products more than any other
demographic (Capitalizing on the Cosmeceutical Market
2007), but there are also suggestions, at least in the popular
media, that women are beginning to purchase these
products at progressively younger ages (Katsigiannis
2005). What factors influence womens decision to purchase
anti-aging products? How do women feel about these
products and the relationship to aging? These are the central
questions addressed in this study.
To our knowledge there has been no previous study of
the factors involved in the decision to purchase anti-aging
skin care products; however there has been a wealth of
research conducted on attitudes about cosmetic procedures.
Theoretical explanations in the psychology literature high-
light body image dissatisfaction as a central factor in the
decision to pursue cosmetic surgery (Sarwer et al. 1998).
Studies suggest that the acceptance of cosmetic procedures
may be more related to fears about becoming unattractive
than a desire to be more attractive (Henderson-King and
Henderson-King 2005). Individuals who undergo or are
considering cosmetic medical procedures typically have
higher body image investment (e.g., Delinsky 2005),
defined as the degree to which an individuals physical
appearance is important in defining the self, and the extent
to which thoughts, beliefs and actions are focused on
physical appearance (Cash 2006). However several studies
demonstrate that womens endorsement or pursuit of
cosmetic medical procedures is related to a higher dissat-
isfaction with the specific body part or feature for which
they are seeking surgery, rather than dissatisfaction with
their body image overall (e.g., Delinsky 2005; Didie and
Sarwer 2003). Therefore, it may not be a global dissatisfac-
tion with body image that predicts the pursuit of various
types of beauty work, but rather dissatisfaction with a
particular body part or aspect of physical appearance.
In terms of purchasing anti-aging products, the specific
concern related to this decision may be dissatisfaction with
aging and not overall body image. Academic research has
demonstrated that a change in ones physical appearance
with age is one dimension that causes anxiety about aging
(Lasher and Faulkender 1993). Expectations about aging
also appear to influence the future health and health
behaviors of older adults (Sarkisian et al. 2005). In fact, a
recent study of women in mid-life suggested that aging
anxiety is a unique predictor of social motivations toward
cosmetic procedures (Slevec and Tiggemann 2010).
Numerous factors have been theorized as having an
effect on the attitudes we have towards our bodies, and thus
on the behaviors related to maintaining our appearance.
Greater exposure to media images is shown to correlate
with having an idealized image of womens bodies (i.e.,
smaller waist and larger breasts), and predicts greater
approval of cosmetic surgery (Harrison 2003). Also, often
anecdotally implicated in the pursuit of a younger appearance
is the desire to begin or maintain a romantic relationship.
Research has demonstrated that women have a more positive
body image when theyfeel that their appearance matches their
partners expectations (Szymanski and Cash 1995), and that
women who have been teased about their appearance by a
romantic partner are more likely to have pursued cosmetic
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medical treatments than women who had not been teased
(Schofield et al. 2002). Sociocultural pressures such as these
are shown to increase body dissatisfaction (Stormer and
Thompson 1996), which is indicated as an important factor
in predicting attitudes toward cosmetic procedures.
In a sample of older women, some report using cosmetic
procedures to increase their self-esteem and body image,
while others express concern about the physical risks or
how using these products can devalue the process of aging
(Hurd Clarke et al. 2007). In the current study we assessed
womens self-esteem to determine its role in womens
likelihood of purchasing anti-aging products. Previous
research shows that women who are about to have a
cosmetic medical procedure have lower self-esteem than a
control group (Hueston et al. 1985), which may lead to the
hypothesis that women with lower self-esteem would also
be more likely to purchase anti-aging products. However,
research also indicates that ones evaluation of body image
is the single most important predictor of self-esteem (Harter
1999). Therefore, insomuch as the use of certain products
may be improving appearance and/or increasing ones body
image, there is the potential that high self-esteem may also
be related to the use of anti-aging products. This is one
aspect that we will investigate in the current research.
Given the many unanswered questions regarding womens
decisions to purchase anti-aging products and the lack of
empirical research on the topic, we approached this study with
the goal to explore the individual factors that influence
womens use of and decision to purchase anti-aging products.
We used a two-prong approach to study this topic and utilized
both quantitative and qualitative methods. The quantitative
analyses tested three main hypotheses. First, given the
increased association between scientific testing and cosmetics,
we hypothesized that women would report increased spending
habits for products that had been scientifically tested as
opposed to products that contained active or natural ingredients
(Hypothesis 1). Further, since skin care products are non-
invasive procedures, we hypothesized that using anti-aging
skin care products would be seen as more acceptable than
other anti-aging procedures such as Botox® (Hypothesis 2).
Our main goal of this study was to explore the factors that
contribute to womens likelihood of purchasing anti-aging
products. Based on previous literature on cosmetic procedures
we specifically investigated body satisfaction (e.g., Sarwer et
al. 1998), aging anxiety (Slevec and Tiggemann 2010),
importance of appearance (e.g., Cash 2006), sociocultural
pressures (e.g., Stormer and Thompson 1996), and self-
esteem (e.g., Hurd Clarke et al. 2007) as predictors of
purchasing anti-aging skin care products. Also, since anec-
dotal evidence suggests that older women are more likely to
purchase these products (Capitalizing on the Cosmeceutical
Market 2007) and the cost of these products is often high, we
controlled for age and personal annual income in the first
block of the regression. We hypothesized that older women
(Hypothesis 3) with a higher annual income (Hypothesis 4)
would be more likely to purchase anti-aging products. In
terms of the psychological variables we hypothesized that
body dissatisfaction (Hypothesis 5), as well as aging anxiety
(Hypothesis 6) would predict a greater likelihood of purchas-
ing anti-aging products. In addition we hypothesized that
importance of appearance (Hypothesis 7) and internalization
of sociocultural pressures to maintain appearance (Hypothesis
8) would be related to greater purchasing behavior. Finally,
the role of self-esteem in beauty work has yielded mixed
results. We believe the use of anti-aging products to represent
appearance maintenance, rather than appearance altering
behavior. In previous research, higher self-esteem has been
related to appearance maintenance (Hurd Clarke et al. 2007;
Harter 1999), and therefore we predicted that higher self-
esteem would be associated with greater purchasing of anti-
aging products (Hypothesis 9). In addition, we asked women
for qualitative information about their reasons for purchasing
or not purchasing these types of products and what it means in
relation to their ideas about aging.
Participants in the current research were 304Canadian women,
recruited both online (N=206) and at an Anti-Aging Show
(N=98), who ranged in age from 19 to 73, (M=40.5, SD=
12.9). A multivariate analysis of variance (MANCOVA) was
conducted to compare participants from the two recruitment
strategies. Compared to the participants recruited online (M=
36.85), participants recruited from the Anti-Aging Show (M=
48.33) were significantly older, F(8, 241) = 52.70, p<.001.
Participants recruited at the Anti-Aging show were also
significantly more like to purchase anti-aging products (M=
5.58) than participants recruited online (M=4.22), F(8, 241)=
29.92, p<.001. The recruitment groups did not significantly
differ on any of the other predictor variables. Participants
predominantly identified as White/Caucasian (87.8%) and
heterosexual (95.1%). The majority of the sample was either
married (47.7%), engaged (3.3%), or living with a partner
(9.9%). The remaining participants were single (23.4%),
divorced (6.2%), separated (4.3%), or widowed (2.3%).
Participants had a diverse range of occupations and their
approximate average personal annual income was $52,000.
In general, the sample was educated with half (49%) having
a college or university degree, and 12% having a graduate
Participant recruitment for the current study was two-fold.
A link to the online survey was sent out via email to the
primary researchers contact list. Recipients of the email were
asked to forward the link to women on their contact lists. The
link directed women to an online informed consent page and
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those who indicated an agreement to participate were directed
to the survey. Women who participated in the online survey
were entered into a draw to win $500. As an attempt to sample
women with diverse ages and experience with anti-aging
products, the researchers also recruited at the Anti-Aging
Show in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The first author and a
female research assistant occupied a booth at the show for three
days, and asked female attendees of the show to participate in
the survey. Participants may also have learned about the study
through signage at the booth or word of mouth from other
attendees, therefore it is not possible to calculate an exact
response rate. Participants could opt to complete the survey on
one of the computers provided or use paper and pencil.
Participants in both recruitment groups completed the
survey in the same order; quantitative measures followed by
open-ended qualitative questions. All those who participated
in the survey at the Anti-Aging Show were entered in to a
draw to win a weekend spa getaway. The inclusion criteria for
both recruitment strategies were that participants had to be
English-speaking women aged 18 and older.
Quantitative Measures
Demographic Information
Participants were asked a series of demographic questions
including age, relationship status, education, and annual
Purchase of Anti-Aging Products
The dependent variable used in the regression analysis was
a single item about the general likelihood of purchasing
anti-aging products: How likely are you to purchase anti-
aging skin care products?In addition, participants were
asked about factors related to the their purchase of the these
products. Participants were asked to indicate how likely
they would be to spend additional money on a product if it
fit into the following categories: the product was scientif-
ically tested, the product contained active ingredients, the
product contained natural ingredients. All of these items
were rated on a 7-point scale from 1 (not at all likely)to7
(very likely). A higher score on these questions indicated a
greater likelihood. Participants were also asked about their
knowledge of the term cosmeceutical.Two yes or no
questions were included in the survey: Have you heard the
term cosmeceutical?and To your knowledge, have you
ever purchased a product that was termed a cosmeceutical?
Acceptability of Anti-Aging Products
Participants responded to questions about how acceptable
they felt it was to engage in certain beauty work as they
aged. Participants were asked to rate on a 7-point scale
from 1 (completely unacceptable)to7(completely accept-
able): How acceptable do you feel it is to use each of the
following products or procedures?The products and
procedures included: makeup, hair dye, Botox® injections,
injectible fillers, and chemical peels. A higher score on
these items indicated greater acceptance.
Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (1989). Items are rated on a
4-point scale from 1 (strongly agree)to4(strongly disagree)
and include On the whole, I am satisfied with myselfand
I am able to do things as well as most other people.A
mean score was calculated for each participant and scores
were coded with higher scores indicating higher self-esteem.
The scale yielded good reliability in this sample (α=.82).
Body Satisfaction
Seven items assessing body image and body satisfaction
(Stone et al. 2007) were included in the survey. Each item
was rated on a 5-point scale from 1 (definitely disagree)to
5(definitely agree). Due to the low internal reliability for
the seven items (α=.28), we examined the item-total
correlations. Three of the items that referred to how others
viewed ones body revealed had negative item-total
correlations (.16 to .19), and therefore we dropped these
items. The four-item version of the scale yielded good
reliability (α=.84). The items that were retained assessed
womens own image of their body and how satisfied they
were in general: I like my looks the way the way they are,
My body is sexually appealing,”“I dislike my physique
(reverse coded),and I am physically unattractive (reverse
coded).Participants score was the mean of their scores on
the four retained items. A higher scores indicating greater
body satisfaction.
Importance of Appearance
The 20-item Appearance Schemas Inventory-Revised scale
(ASI-R; Cash et al. 2004) was included to assess how
important participants rated their appearance. All items were
measured on a 5-point scale from 1 (strongly disagree)to5
(strongly agree). Despite having high reliability in previous
samples (α=.88; Cash et al. 2004), this was not replicated in
the current sample (α=.47). Seven items on the scale had
negative item-total correlations ranging from .027 to .424.
These items related to participants perceptions of how others
were evaluating their appearance (e.g., When I meet people
for the first time, I wonder what they think about how I
look) and how much their appearance had contributed to
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success or misfortune in their lives (e.g., My appearance is
responsible for much of whats happened to me in my life),
and these did not seem to fit in well with the construct
underlying the remaining scale items. After removing
these negatively correlated items, the scale yielded good
reliability (α=.73). Two sample items from the items retained
are: Before going out, I make sure that I look as good as I
possibly canand What I look like is an important part of
who I am.Participants score was the mean of their scores
on the 13 items that were retained. A higher score indicated
greater importance of appearance.
Aging Anxiety
The Physical Appearance subscale of the Anxiety About
Aging Scale (Lasher and Faulkender 1993) was used to
measure participants feeling about age-related changes to
their appearance. Participants were asked to rate the
accuracy of five statements on a 5-point scale from 1
(definitely disagree)to5(definitely agree). A sample item
is I have never dreaded the day I would look in the mirror
and see grey hairs.The items were coded so that higher
scores indicated greater anxiety about aging. Participants
score was a sum of their item scores. The internal
consistency was adequate (α=.70), which is comparable
to previous samples (α=.71; Lasher and Faulkender 1993).
Sociocultural Pressures
The 8-item Perceived Sociocultural Pressure Scale (PSPS;
Stice et al. 1996) was used to measure the amount of
pressure participants feel from the media and other people
in their lives to maintain or improve their appearance. Items
were rated on a 5-point scale from 1 (none)to5(a lot) and
included: I have felt pressure from my family/friends/the
media to improve my appearance.The scale yielded good
reliability in the current sample (α= .82). A mean was
calculated for each participant, with a higher score
indicating greater sociocultural pressures.
Qualitative Measures
To obtain more detailed information about womens views
and expectations of anti-aging products the responses to a
series of open-ended questions were analyzed using
thematic analysis (Braun and Clarke 2006). Braun and
Clarke outline six main steps for conducting a thematic
analysis that were followed in the current study: 1)
Familiarize yourself with the data; 2) Generate initial
codes; 3) Group codes into themes; 4) Review themes
(generate a thematic mapof the data); 5) Define and name
themes 6) Select excerpts and produce the report (p. 87).
The goal of the current analysis was to identify the general
themes in the entire data set, as opposed to focusing on one
specific aspect. Additionally the analysis was inductive, in
that the themes were strongly linked to the data and did not
fit into a pre-existing theoretical framework. A semantic
approach was taken to the analysis and the data were
organized to show patterns in semantic content and
interpreted based on broader meanings and implications.
Participants were asked four open-ended questions: 1)
What are your reasons for using or not using anti-aging
products? 2) What do you look for in products that you are
purchasing? 3) What are some ideas that come about anti-
aging products? 4) What does it mean to you to age naturally
or gracefully and how does this relate to your use of anti-aging
products? The open-ended questions were included in the
online survey and respondents typed their answers to each
question. Of the 304 participants, 280 (92%) responded to
question one, 249 (82%) responded to question two, 234
(77%) responded to question three and 257 (85%) responded
to question four. At the end of the survey participants were
asked one additional open-ended question: Do have any
other comments you would like to share?Sixty-seven
participants (22%) included an additional comment and these
were also coded in the thematic analysis.
The primary female researcher coded the responses to the
open-ended questions and over several readings organized the
codes into six final themes. An independent female researcher
who was not otherwise involved in the study analyzed the data
using the six themes and the option to code as not matching
any of these themes. A comparison of the coding indicated
good interrater reliability (Cohensκ=.92).
Womens Perceptions of Anti-Aging Products
To test hypothesis 1, we used a repeated-measures analysis of
variance (RMANOVA) to compare product characteristics
that influenced the amount women would spend on anti-aging
products. Significant differences were found between the
influence of scientific testing, active ingredients and natural
ingredients, F(2, 301)=12.11, p<.001. Post-hoc tests using a
Bonferroni correction revealed the nature of these differ-
ences. While all factors considered were rated as relatively
important in influencing the amount spent on an anti-aging
product, scientific testing of a product was slightly, but
significantly, less important (M=5.22, SD = 1.63) to womens
spending intentions than if the product contained active
ingredients (M=5.66, SD=1.22), t(302)= 4.84, p<.001, or
was made with natural ingredients (M=5.59, SD=1.34),
t(302)=3.56, p<.05. We found no significant difference
in womens spending intentions for products containing
active ingredients and products made with natural ingredients,
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t(302)=1.17, p=.24. Therefore, hypothesis 1 was not
supported. Of the product characteristics that we asked about
in the current study, scientific testing was the least likely to
increase womens spending intentions. Similarly, the term
cosmeceutical,which implies scientific advancement, did
not resonate with the majority of the sample. Only 21% of
the women reported knowing this term and only 15%
reported purchasing a product termed a cosmeceutical.
However, the majority of the sample (66.8%) was at least
somewhat likely to purchase anti-aging skin care products.
To test hypothesis 2, we conducted an RMANOVA to
understand how acceptable participants believe that it is to
use anti-aging products compared to other types of beauty
work. The RMANOVA indicated that there were significant
differences, F(4, 299)=153.82, p<.001, in acceptability
across the categories of beauty work. Post-hoc tests using a
Bonferroni correction (p<.01) indicated that using anti-
aging products (M=6.66, SD=.90) was just as acceptable as
wearing make-up (M=6.76, SD =.72), t(302) = 2.89, p= .04
(non-significant with Bonferroni correction), or using hair
dye (M=6.70, SD=.85), t(302)=1.06, p=.29. However,
it was significantly more acceptable to use anti-aging
products than to have Botox® injections (M= 4.60, SD =
1.98), t(302)= 11.61, p< .01, injectible fillers (M=4.50,
SD=1.99), t(302)=19.22, p<.01, or chemical peels (M=
4.88, SD=1.86), t(302)=17.49, p<.01. Therefore, hypothesis
2 was supported.
Predictors of Purchasing Anti-Aging Products
The means, standard deviations and ranges of the dependent
and predictor variables are presented in Table 1.The
correlations between the predictor variables (body satisfac-
tion, aging anxiety, importance of appearance, sociocultural
pressures, self-esteem) and the dependent variable (likeli-
hood of purchasing anti-aging products) are presented in
Tab le 2. As can be seen, age, income, aging anxiety, and
importance of appearance were all positively correlated with
the likelihood of purchasing anti-aging products. Interestingly,
although the sociocultural pressures scale was not significantly
related to purchasing anti-aging products, this variable was
positively related to importance of appearance and aging
A stepwise multiple regression analysis was conducted to
explore the factors that predict a greater likelihood of
purchasing anti-aging products (See Table 3). The dependent
variable was a one-item measure: How likely are you to
purchase anti-aging skin care products?Both age and income
were significantly positively correlated with purchasing anti-
aging products, and therefore we included these variables as
covariates in the regression model. The remaining indepen-
dent predictors (body satisfaction, aging anxiety, sociocultural
pressures, importance of appearance, self-esteem) were
entered together into block two. The size and significance of
the Beta values indicate the strength and unique effect of each
predictor. Although some of the predictor variables are
significantly correlated, a mulitcollinearity problem was not
indicated in the tolerance values (all greater than .72).
Hypothesis 3 was supported and older women were
significantly more likely to purchase anti-aging products
(β=.36, p<.001). However, although annual income was a
significant predictor in step one (β=.12, p< .05), it did not
remain significant once the other variables were added in
block two. Therefore, hypothesis 4 was not supported.
After controlling for age and annual income, anxiety about
aging (β=.26, p<.001) and the importance of appearance
(β=.20, p<.01) were the only significant predictors of
purchasing anti-aging products accounting for 28% and
21% of unique variance respectively. Therefore, hypotheses
6 and 7 were supported; holding more negative expectations
about aging, as well placing more importance on appearance
predicted a greater likelihood of purchasing anti-aging
products. Hypothesis 5, 8, and 9 were not supported; self-
esteem, body satisfaction, and sociocultural pressures were not
significant predictors of purchasing anti-aging products in the
current sample. The final model was significant, F(7, 261)=
13.02, p<.001, and accounted for 25% of the variance in
purchasing behaviors.
Thematic Analysis of Responses to Anti-Aging Products
Six themes were identified in the data that related to womens
feelings and motivations toward using or not using anti-aging
products: appearance maintenance, embracing aging, effec-
tiveness, cost, age, routine/self-care. Only the three main
themes will be discussed in detail in this manuscript. Themes
Variable Mean Standard Deviation Minimum Maximum
Purchasing Anti-AgingProducts 4.65 2.13 1.00 7.00
Body Satisfaction 2.66 .90 1.00 5.00
Aging Anxiety 13.37 3.74 5.00 25.00
Sociocultural Pressures 2.46 .81 1.00 5.00
Importance of Appearance 3.08 .48 1.62 5.00
Self-Esteem 2.24 .53 1.30 4.00
Table 1 Means, standard
deviations and ranges for main
The total score for the aging
anxiety scale is summed; the
total scores for all other
measures are calculated using
the mean of all items.
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that were discussed relatively infrequently (i.e., by less
than 15% of participants) will not be outlined in detail.
See Table 4for all themes identified and the percentage of
the participants who discussed each theme. The percen-
tages provided indicate the percentage of women who
endorsed a particular theme out of the total number of
participants who responded to at least one of the open-
ended questions (N=280). The three main themes are
further explicated below. Exemplar quotes are provided,
along with demographic information about the participant
quoted. All names used are pseudonyms.
Appearance Maintenance
The most common reason participants reported for pur-
chasing anti-aging products was to maintain a youthful
looking appearance. This is consistent with the finding in
the quantitative data that importance of appearance is a
significant predictor of purchasing anti-aging products.
Participants discussed using these products to help stop
the aging process(Margaret, age 62, white/Caucasian,
married, high school diploma, less than $20,000 per year)
and to maintain a youthful appearance(Anna, age 41,
Portuguese, married, high school diploma, $40,00049,999).
The reduction or prevention of wrinkles was an important
aspect of maintaining a youthful appearance. Participants of all
ages mentioned goals of lessening the look of wrinkles
(Michelle, age 48, white/Caucasian, married, college degree,
over $100,000) and keeping wrinkles as small as possible
(Gina, age 58, white/Caucasian, divorced, university degree,
$50,00059,000). Participants in their 20s mentioned that they
were already thinking about wrinkle prevention. Sally said I
dontwanttolookoldI hate wrinkles(age 27, white/
Caucasian, engaged, graduate degree, $30,00039,000). Jennie
stated, I use products now to prevent wrinkles and lines as I
age(age 25, white/Caucasian, serious relationship, university
degree, $40,00049,999). And Lily mentioned using anti-
aging products because I am getting wrinkles, and have age/
sun spots(age 24, white/Caucasian, serious relationship,
university degree, $30,00039,999).
One factor that seemed to underlie appearance maintenance
considerations is that women related their physical appearance
to their general well-being. Women who endorsed this idea
stated that when they looked better, they also felt better:
I spend a lot of money on my skin care products. I
probably spend nearly $350 every couple months to
replenish my supplies. I do notice that these products
Table 2 Correlations among variables.
Purchasing Anti-AgingProducts (AA) .38*** .23** .08 .21** .06 .23*** .05
Age .25*** .091 .10 .28*** .07 .09
Income .013 .12 .09 .03 .02
Body Satisfaction (BS) .08 .13* .23*** .58***
Aging Anxiety (A-ANX) .24*** .09 .02
Sociocultural Pressures (SOC-P) .36*** .11
Importance of Appearance (APP) .26***
Self-Esteem (SE)
*p<.05, **p< .01, ***p< .001
Predictors Adjusted R
Step 1 .16
Age .36 6.18 .000
Income .12 2.05 .041
Step 2 .25
Age .38 6.05 .000
Income .08 1.31 .162
Body Satisfaction .04 1.05 .559
Aging Anxiety .26 4.52 .000
Sociocultural Pressures .06 .45 .345
Importance of Appearance .20 3.21 .002
Self-Esteem .09 1.16 .193
Table 3 Stepwise multiple
regression of the predictors of
purchasing Anti-Aging
Sex Roles
make my skin appear tighter, smoother and more even. I
feel more confident when my skin looks good (Allie,
age 28, white/Caucasian, single, university degree,
Skin care products are great its important for a person
to take care of themselves and take pride in their looks
because when you look better you feel better about
yourself (Bronwyn, age 38, white/Caucasian, single,
college degree, $40,00049,999).
As can be gleaned from the previous excerpts, for many
women looking bettermeant looking younger.Further,
looking young was often equated with being young. Partic-
ipants talked about using products to stay young(Irene, age
65, white/Caucasian, married, college degree, $30,000
$39,999) and to keep myself younger(Julie, age 43,
white/Caucasian, married, college degree, $30,000$39,999).
Unlike cosmetic surgeries and other non-surgical cosmetic
procedures (e.g., Botox®), women did not expect anti-aging
products to have a drastic effect on their appearance. Instead
participants discussed using products to maintainor
preservethe look of their skin. Participants also described
using the products as preventionagainst aging, which might
explain use in younger participants. Although the quantitative
data indicates that older women are more likely to purchase
anti-aging products, the qualitative data suggests that this may
be starting at earlier ages as younger women in our sample
were also contemplating or currently using these products.
Embracing Aging
Despite many participantsindication that they used products
to look and feel younger, a fair proportion of respondents also
talked about the importance of embracing aging. In fact,
participantsideas about naturaland gracefulaging often
included appearance maintenance strategies. These respond-
ents stressed that physical appearance should not become an
obsession, but maintaining an appearance that makes you
feel good is an important part of taking care of yourself.
One participant noted, It means a great deal to age
naturally and gracefully if I am in good health and look
good inside out(Lana, age 58, West Indian, married,
college degree, did not indicate income). Another partici-
pant defined natural aging as: Caring for our looks but
accepting our appearance. Knowing we are more than what
we look like and having confidence in ourselves as people
(Genevieve, age 43, French Canadian, living with partner,
college degree, $40,000$49,999). As such, women felt
that they could embrace aging and still care about their
Often, surgery was not seen as part of natural aging, but the
use of cosmetics could be. Aging naturally more often meant,
no surgeries, but maintaining your system properly; taking
care of yourself without drastic procedures(Ella, age 49,
white/Caucasian, single, undergraduate degree, $30,000
$39,999). One participant described it as being healthy,
happy and fit without cosmetic surgery. I think one can age
naturally and still use cosmetics and hair dye and wear
fashionable clothing(Maggie, did not report age, white/
Caucasian, single, Masters degree, $70,000$79,999).
Some respondents indicated that an important part of
embracing your age was to avoid becoming obsessed with
looking younger or trying to cheattime. To one woman,
embracing your age was accepting those physical changes
that come with age, and not becoming desperate to look
younger(Sarah, age 27, white/Caucasian, living with
partner, undergraduate degree, $40,00049,999). Another
Table 4 Themes identified in womens discussion of anti-aging products.
Themes Description Percentage
Participants discussed the use of anti-agingproducts as related to an attempt to maintain a youthful appearance. 52%
Embracing Aging Aging was discussed as something that is natural and inevitable. Participants felt that women should embrace
their age. However, women also felt that this could include using certain products to assist with looking
and feeling better.
Effectiveness Participants discussed the effectiveness of these products. Most commonly the effectiveness was questioned
and products were thought to be gimmicky.
Cost Participants mentioned that the high cost of anti-agingskin care products makes them less accessible.
While several participants reported spending a great deal of money on skin care products, the high cost was
most often mentioned as a reason for not purchasing these products.
Age The current sample includes a broad age range. Therefore, some participants mentioned that they were too young to
start purchasing anti-agingproducts. However, young women differed in the future intentions they discussed.
Some felt it was best to start using these products early to maintain their youthful appearance, while others did not
have intentions to use these products in the future. These various intentions are captured by the others themes.
Routine/Self-Care A small percentage of the women in the sample discussed using skin-care products as part of a self-care regime
and did not mentioned appearance specifically. Instead they mentioned caring for their skin by cleaning,
moisturizing and using sunscreen. The benefits were related to the health of the skin rather than the appearance.
Sex Roles
participant challenged women to redefine their idea of what
was beautiful:
Women should accept the natural aging process and stop
worrying about doing anything and everything in order
to appear young. Be who you want to be, and do not
change your appearance for others ... also realize that
younger is only represented as better for women ... know
that wrinkles, grey hair etc are natural and beautiful in
their own way (Jasmine, age 22, white/Caucasian, single,
undergraduate degree, $20,00029,999).
A few women in the current sample were critical of the
medias portrayal of aging women, and believed that using
these products represented acceptance of these messages.
However, caring about ones appearance and choosing to
use certain products was not always perceived to be
synonymous with accepting the medias messages about
aging and beauty. One example of a respondent being
critical of the societal standards of beauty while still being
conscious of their appearance is:
I use make-up and hair dye and I like clothes. I like to
dress well, but I am not dependent on any of that for
my feelings of well-being. I resent the beauty industry
and the media for trying to make women feel they
dont measure up if they dont fit the stereotype
beauty mould (Agnes, age 57, white/Caucasian,
married, high school diploma, $60,00069,999).
In sum, this theme represented womens desire to look
and feel their best without devaluing the aging process or
becoming obsessed with these goals. Perhaps in this way, the
use of anti-aging skin care products is perceived as a strategy
that allows women to maintain a youthful appearance, if that
is what they desire, without going to drasticmeasures such
as cosmetic surgeries or injections. In the regression analysis,
aging anxiety (specifically related to appearance) was
predictive of purchasing anti-aging products. It seems then
that the women in the current sample want to maintain a
youthful appearance, but at the same time remain positive
about the aging process. Many women described it as
acceptable to engage in some appearance maintenance
activities (such as using anti-aging products) as long as
aging was still considered a natural process.
Although a key reason for using or to consider using anti-
aging products was to maintain a youthful appearance, few
participants actually felt these products worked well. Only 3%
of respondents in the current sample stated that they used anti-
aging products because they felt they were effective. It was
more common for participants to question the effectiveness of
these products and suggest that anti-aging products are
gimmicky. One participant described that it is challenging to
determine the effectiveness of anti-aging products: There
seem to be so many different products on the market it is hard
to know which ones really work and are worth the money
(Susan, age 40, white/Caucasian, married, Mastersdegree,
$50,00059,999). Another participant echoed this feeling:
Most of them [anti-aging products] seem like gimmicks to
me(Erienne, age 26, white/Caucasian, living with partner,
undergraduate degree, $20,00029,999)
Although participants often questioned the effectiveness of
these products, the majority of the sample (67%) was at least
somewhat likely to use them. One woman wrote, Iamsmart
and educated and fairly confident yet I still pay a lot for skin
care products!(Lisa, age 34, white/Caucasian, married,
Masters degree, $60,00069,999) Another woman indicated,
I use them as a preemptive measure. Although Imskeptical
that anti-aging products actually work(Erika, age 24, white/
Caucasian, single, law student, $30,00039,999).
This finding suggests an interesting paradox by which
women, on one hand, questioned the effectiveness of anti-aging
products (and felt they were overpriced) but, on the other hand,
still purchased and used them. However, women who used
these products wanted to be more confident in their effective-
ness and suggested that the cosmetics industry should be more
accountable for their claims.
I wish they wouldnt come out with something suppos-
edly miraculousevery other day. They should explain
the products and their effects better and not try to sell us
with ridiculous wording, claims and promisesbe more
respectful of our intelligence (Donna, age 53, white/
Caucasian, living with partner, some university, variable
I wish that the cosmetic/skin care industries were
forced to adhere to higher standards. In general, I feel
that I live in a complex world that doesnt afford the
time to learn about all the things I need to know in
order to take better care of myself ...It would be nice
if I could trust the labels on the things I purchase
(Rebecca, age 41, Portuguese, married, education in
ethnic and classical dance, less than $20,0004).
Recent years have witnessed a commercial and clinical
movement that has increased the offering of anti-aging
products and interventions (Binstock et al. 2006). However,
little is known to date about the attitudes and behaviors of
the targeted consumers who are typically women and often
concerned about the physical consequences of aging. The
current study was an initial attempt to explore womens use
Sex Roles
and perception of products marketed as anti-aging.
Women were the focus of the current research as pressure
to remain youthful is typically more salient in the lives of
women (Halliwell and Dittmar 2003; Hargreaves and
Tiggemann 2004; Muth and Cash 1997). Perhaps not
surprisingly, and consistent with past research on factors
associated with the likelihood of contemplating cosmetic
surgery (Cash 2006; Delinsky 2005; Didie and Sarwer
2003), the likelihood of purchasing anti-aging products was
significantly increased for women whose appearance is more
important to them and who experience more anxiety about
aging. These factors significantly predict purchasing intentions
above and beyond the influence of age and annual income.
Consistent with the quantitative findings, the most common
reason women reported in the qualitative data for using anti-
aging products is to achieve or maintain a youthful appearance.
However, very few women perceived anti-aging products to be
effective. It was more common for women to report their
skepticism about the effectiveness of these products and
believe them to be gimmicky. Despite questioning the
effectiveness of these products, the majority of women in the
sample were at least somewhat likely to purchase anti-aging
products. Perhaps this finding can be seen as parallel to
findings regarding health locus of control and health behavior.
Research demonstrates that those who feel they have more
control over their health will engage in more health related
behaviors (See Norman et al. 1998 for a review). A feeling of
control over the aging process may explain why women
purchase anti-aging products despite questioning their effec-
tiveness. Of course, the paradox described could simply be
associated with some degree of risk management. While the
effectiveness of the anti-aging products may be suspect,
women may still purchase them just in case they turn out to
be effective. In other words, doing something may be
perceived as a better strategy than doing nothing.
Binstock and his colleagues (2006) identify consumer
protection as an important social concern of the anti-aging
movement because the efficacy of some products and
interventions has not been established with traditional
clinical evidence. However, they also suggest that we
cannot discount the beneficial results through placebo
effects. While participants discussed using products to
reduce fine lines and wrinkles, they more often focused
on how using these products, in conjunction with a healthy
lifestyle, helps them to both look and feel better. Despite
scientific claims being increasingly embedded in the
marketing of anti-aging products, research has found that
individuals are often skeptical of these claims (Dodds et al.
2008). When women reported the product factors that are
influential in their decision to purchase anti-aging products,
scientific testing of the product was the least important
factor. This seems to parallel the finding that women
generally question the effectiveness of these products.
Female consumers report desiring more information about
product effectiveness, while simultaneously remain skeptical
about the information provided.
In response to the qualitative questions, women frequently
commented that the use of anti-aging products is distinct from
intentions to pursue cosmetic surgery. In general, the current
sample of women felt that using anti-aging products was very
acceptable, as acceptable as using makeup and hair dye. Using
anti-aging products appeared to fit in with ideas about aging
naturally, whereas surgical and non-surgical cosmetic inter-
ventions primarily did not. In a previous study of beauty work
and aging, women perceived surgical and non-surgical
procedures as unnatural or as an overly drastic measure, while
cosmetics, anti-wrinkle creams and hair dyes were normative
and in some cases necessary aspects of womensbeautywork
(Hurd Clarke and Griffin 2007).
In the feminist literature, ideas about womens appearance-
related behaviors are often positioned as either oppressive or
empowering (Negrin 2002). However, when we polarize
these perspectives we lose many of the complexities of
womens experiences. In the current study, women described
an interesting paradox whereby they report using anti-aging
products while remaining critical of media messages and
embracing the idea of natural aging. Feminist women are
somewhat more resistant to internalizing unrealistic cultural
ideals, however they are not altogether resistant to body
concerns (Murnen and Smolak 2009). Feminism or a critical
consciousness regarding societal ideals seems to offer women
an alternate means to interpret and resist sociocultural
pressures. However despite knowing betterfeminist women
still experience some body shame and report engaging in
appearance-enhancing behaviors (Rubin et al. 2004). In the
current study, there was tension in womens accounts
between resisting negative messages in the media about
aging and using products that may help to maintain a young-
looking appearance. Rubin et al. (2004) suggest that rather
than passively receiving or radically resisting cultural
messagesabout beauty ideals women are constantly
negotiating feelings and behaviors relate to their body and
appearance (p. 30). In the current study we did not measure
gender role attitudes or feminist identity, but given the
current findings this is a noteworthy area for future research.
The current study is an initial attempt to understand
womens perceptions of anti-aging products, but more and
more products are being marketed toward men and it will
be important for future research to explore the impact of
this anti-aging movement on men. Further, while the
current sample was diverse in terms of age, the participants
were relatively homogenous in ethnicity and sexual
orientation. Women in the current sample discussed media
and cultural ideals of beauty as perpetuating the anti-aging
movement. The purchase of anti-aging products is linked to
sociocultural ideals about aging, and important information
Sex Roles
can be gleaned from exploring this topic cross-culturally.
An additional limitation of the current study was the initial
low internal consistency scores of two of the measures
(body satisfaction and importance appearance), suggesting
that these measures may not be assessing one single
construct. In the current sample, the low internal consistency
seemed to relate to a difference in items assessing womens
self-perceptions and items that related more to the perceptions
of others. It will be beneficial for future studies on womens
beauty work to explore the nuances between self-motivations
and sociocultural and media influences in the pursuit of
cosmetic products and procedures.
It seems that using anti-aging products can be seen as a
less drastic response to an aging appearance than cosmetic
surgery. Products may not be as effective as other cosmetic
procedures but their use seems to offer a sense of control
over appearance, while still fitting in with the idea of
natural aging. Further exploration of the relationship
between using anti-aging products and a locus of control
is warranted. Future research in this area can also explore
the nuances of womens feelings about the beauty work in
which they engage. As the anti-aging movement continues
to grow, it becomes more important to understand how
women are responding to this movement.
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... Analysis of the relationship between the use of cosmetic products and QoL revealed negative correlations. In fact, the individual's motivation to consume and use cosmetic products relates to their intention to conceal or reverse the signs of aging [67], since those physical changes that are felt over time may have a significant negative impact on psychological and physical well-being (e.g., depression, low self-esteem, anxiety) [9,12] and as such, on QoL. Although some literature suggests an increase in QoL in users of cosmetic products [9], other studies have shown that individuals who use more cosmetics report more appearance anxiety and dissatisfaction with their body image [67]. ...
... In fact, the individual's motivation to consume and use cosmetic products relates to their intention to conceal or reverse the signs of aging [67], since those physical changes that are felt over time may have a significant negative impact on psychological and physical well-being (e.g., depression, low self-esteem, anxiety) [9,12] and as such, on QoL. Although some literature suggests an increase in QoL in users of cosmetic products [9], other studies have shown that individuals who use more cosmetics report more appearance anxiety and dissatisfaction with their body image [67]. Moreover, the purchase of anti-aging products has significantly increased in individuals more concerned with their appearance [67]. ...
... Although some literature suggests an increase in QoL in users of cosmetic products [9], other studies have shown that individuals who use more cosmetics report more appearance anxiety and dissatisfaction with their body image [67]. Moreover, the purchase of anti-aging products has significantly increased in individuals more concerned with their appearance [67]. In addition, either adolescents that use cosmetic products to look older and more attractive, or older people that apply cosmetics to disguise age flaws in order to maintain a more youthful appearance, regardless of gender, are socially influenced by hard-to-achieve stan-dards that play an important role on mental, emotional, and physical health, influencing QoL [68]. ...
Full-text available
Purpose: This study assessed the contribution of sociodemographic and psychological variables to quality of life (QoL) in male and female users of anti-aging cosmetic products and procedures, and the moderator role of age and sex in those relationships. Methods: 382 participants were evaluated on appearance schemes, aging perceptions, self-esteem, psychological morbidity, perfectionism and QoL. Results: Being male, married, professionally active and having a higher household income was associated with better QoL, while the usage of cosmetic products was negatively associated with QoL. Appearance schemes, psychological morbidity, perfectionism and aging perceptions (timeline chronic and emotional representations) were associated with worse QoL, and self-esteem was associated with better QoL. Sex moderated the relationship between perfectionism and psychological morbidity in both men and women but stronger in the latter, while the relationship between chronic aging perceptions and negative QoL was only significant in men. Age moderated the relationship between perfectionism and psychological morbidity, between psychological morbidity and QoL, and between aging perceptions and QoL. Conclusions: Findings may help guide psychological interventions targeted on the adaptation to the aging experience as means of promoting QoL. Thus, psychological intervention programs should address perfectionism, psychological morbidity and aging perceptions, being differentiated according to participants’ sex and age in order to promote a better adaptation to the aging process.
... The emphasis on individual physical appearance in media coverage, the internet, and television has led to an increase in cosmetic procedures. Due to beauty ideals, people increasingly seek aesthetic surgery and anti-aging cosmetics in their quest for eternal youth [9][10][11]. More and more people are becoming aware of cosmetic procedures through these platforms because of easy access to information technology. ...
Full-text available
The increase in urban society in the use of cosmetic practices to rejuvenate oneself or obtain a more appealing appearance has influenced the practices of cosmetic dermatologists, general medical practitioners, plastic surgeons, and dental practitioners, among others. The pharmaceutical industry has evolved to meet customers’ desire to be more physically attractive irrespectively of age and gender. This study aimed to preliminarily explore Jordanian adults’ awareness of dental, facial, and other cosmetic procedures. The reasons for undergoing such cosmetic procedures and self-reported knowledge of the side effects or risks associated with these interventions were also explored. The results show that the participants had undergone various procedures to enhance their looks, attractiveness, and confidence. None of the female participants wanted to emulate a celebrity. Most participants were aware of the side effects associated with cosmetic procedures, which may be attributed to their educational backgrounds, as the participants’ minimum qualification was 12th grade and their easy access to information services such as electronic media. A multicenter, large-scale, regional study is required to determine the associations, correlations, and recommendations for individuals seeking cosmetic treatment, cosmetic health providers, and policymakers.
... Se ha contemplado una interacción entre la satisfacción con el propio cuerpo, es decir, la evaluación que el individuo lleva a cabo de su imagen corporal, y la inversión en imagen corporal, es decir, la importancia que se otorga al propio cuerpo (7). La insatisfacción con la imagen corporal y la imagen corporal sexual, entendida como la percepción de los propios genitales y senos, puede estar asociada, consecuentemente, con conductas como restricción dietética, ingesta de productos adelgazantes y antienvejecimiento o la voluntad de someterse a cirugía plástica (8)(9)(10)(11). ...
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Interest in the use of pornography has increased exponentially in recent years. The main objective of this review is to evaluate the association between viewing pornographic materials and body image. The causality of the association between both factors has not yet been confirmed, so it would not be possible to say whether pornography influences or does not influence body image. More longitudinal studies are necessary to be able to study in depth a possible causal relationship between the two and to look for mediating variables that explain the direction of the effect.
Objective: "Biological age" calculators are widely used as a way of communicating health risk. This study evaluated the behaviour change techniques (BCTs) within such tools, underlying algorithm differences, and suitability for people with varying health literacy. Methods: Two authors entered terms into Google (e.g. biological/heart age) and recorded the first 50 results. A standard patient profile was entered into eligible biological age calculators. Evaluation was based on Michie et al.'s BCT taxonomy, and a readability calculator. Results: From 4000 search results, 20 calculators were identified: 11 for cardiovascular age, 7 for general biological age, and 2 for fitness age. The calculators gave variable results for the same 65-year-old profile: biological age ranged from younger to older (57-87 years), while heart age was always older (69-85+ years). Only 11/20 (55%) provided a reference explaining the underlying algorithm. The average reading level was Grade 10 (range 8.7-12.4; SD 1.44). The most common BCTs were salience of consequences, information about health consequences, and credible source. Conclusions: Biological age tools have highly variable results, BCTs and readability. Practice implications: Developers are advised to use validated models, explain the result at the average Grade 8 reading level, and incorporate a clear call to action using evidence-based behaviour change techniques.
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Aging is an irreversible process of the human body, resulting from a progressive decrease in the biological functions of the organs, including the skin. This study analyzed the relationship between usage patterns of different types of anti-aging cosmetic products, sociodemographic variables, appearance schemes, psychological morbidity, perfectionism, and aging perception of aging with self-esteem. This cross-sectional study included a sample of 260 women, aged between 25 and 64 years, who are users of anti-aging cosmetics and/or aesthetic treatments. Participants were assessed on psychological morbidity (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale), appearance schemes (Appearance Schemas Inventory—Revised), perfectionism (Frost Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale), aging perceptions (Brief Aging Perceptions Questionnaire), and self-esteem (Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale). The use of facial-firming cosmetics positively correlated with self-esteem. The results of regression analysis revealed that psychological morbidity and perfectionism contribute negatively to self-esteem, while marital status, professional status, and aging perceptions (positive consequences) contribute positively. According to the results, intervention programs to promote women’s self-esteem should focus on the reduction in psychological morbidity and the promotion of adaptive patterns of perfectionism and address aging perceptions. Longitudinal studies might help explain the complex relationship between the use of anti-aging cosmetic products and psychological variables, particularly self-esteem in women.
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Recently, there has been a shift in attitude among some feminists towards the practice of cosmetic surgery away from that of outright rejection. Kathy Davis, for instance, offers a guarded `defence' of the practice as a strategy that enables women to exercise a degree of control over their lives in circumstances where there are very few other opportunities for self-realization. Others, such as Kathryn Morgan, Anne Balsamo and Orlan, though highly critical of the current practice of cosmetic surgery, go even further than Davis in advocating its redeployment as a tool to subvert the dominant patriarchal ideals of feminine beauty. In this article I critically appraise this `rehabilitation' of cosmetic surgery, arguing, in the case of Davis, that she leaves unchallenged the social structures of inequality responsible for women's dissatisfaction with their bodies. The proposal to use cosmetic surgery as a tool of political critique is equally problematic insofar as it shares with the cosmetic industry its instrumentalization of the body as mere matter, which is almost infinitely transformable, and also effaces the economic inequalities within which such body transformations occur.
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Thematic analysis is a poorly demarcated, rarely acknowledged, yet widely used qualitative analytic method within psychology. In this paper, we argue that it offers an accessible and theoretically flexible approach to analysing qualitative data. We outline what thematic analysis is, locating it in relation to other qualitative analytic methods that search for themes or patterns, and in relation to different epistemological and ontological positions. We then provide clear guidelines to those wanting to start thematic analysis, or conduct it in a more deliberate and rigorous way, and consider potential pitfalls in conducting thematic analysis. Finally, we outline the disadvantages and advantages of thematic analysis. We conclude by advocating thematic analysis as a useful and flexible method for qualitative research in and beyond psychology.
The commercial and clinical anti-aging movements are aimed at extending the time its customers and patients can live without the common morbidities of aging, such as wrinkling of the skin, hardening of the arteries, memory loss, muscle loss, visual impairment, and slowed gait and speech. One of the areas of social concerns raised by anti-aging medicine is consumer protection. Some contemporary interventions undertaken by the anti-aging movement-such as cosmetics, exercise programs, and nutritional regimens-can be beneficial, benign, and not greatly harmful in terms of economic loss to the consumer. Anti-aging interventions raise a number of welfare concerns for patients, practitioners, and the larger society. Foremost is the question of safety for those older persons and aging baby boomers who consume them. The wares being sold and techniques being endorsed include powerful drugs that have the potential to cause serious physical and mental harm. This chapter summarizes the areas of biogerontological research that are promising avenues for the development of effective anti-aging interventions and delineates a series of ethical and social implications of achieving prolongevity.
The present study applied Higgins's (1987) self-discrepancy theory to the assessment of body image, specifically the distinctions of standpoint (own versus other) and self-guide (ideal versus ought). College women (n = 143) evaluated self-discrepancies and rated the importance of self-guides for 11 physical attributes vis-a-vis four standpoint/self-guide combinations. The other standpoint of romantic partner, spouse, or typical partner was included in an expanded version of the Body-Image Ideals Questionnaire (BIQ-E). The component subscales possessed a high degree of internal consistency. Investment-weighted discrepancy scores were found to correlate appropriately with other body-image measures and with eating disturbance. Ideal and ought discrepancies were not uniquely related to dejection and agitation, respectively, as Higgins's theory proposed. Both own- and other-standpoint distinctions, while somewhat convergent, contribute to the understanding of body-image and eating disturbances. The nature and quality of subjects' relationship with the significant other was related to their perceived discrepancies from the other's standards. The BIQ-E's utility in clinical and research settings is discussed.
Although sociocultural pressures are thought to contribute to bulimia nervosa, little research has examined the mechanisms by which these factors might actually produce eating pathology. The present study tested an integrative model of bulimia that centers around dietary restraint and affect regulation pathways. It also incorporates perceived sociocultural pressure, body-mass, ideal-body internalization, and body dissatisfaction. Using data from 257 female undergraduates, structural equation modeling revealed that the model accounted for 71% of the variance in bulimic symptomatology. The relation between perceived sociocultural pressure and bulimic symptoms was mediated by ideal-body internalization, body dissatisfaction, dietary restraint, and negative affect. The results support the dual pathway model of bulimia and suggest variables that might be targeted in prevention efforts.
For this content analysis we recorded a sample of 1,337 prime time commercials from the 3 major networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) in 1998. There were 5,473 primary and secondary characters identified. Each character was coded for gender, age, acting role, and product being advertised. The findings were then compared to Bretl and Cantor (1988), the U.S. Census Bureau's 2000 population statistics, and Mediamark Research and Simmons syndicated marketing services. The commercials' producers cast their female and male characters much the same way as was done in the 1980s. Although women make most purchases of goods and services, they are still underrepresented as primary characters during most prime time commercials except for health and beauty products. Women are still cast as younger, supportive counterparts to men, and older women are still the most underrepresented group. Television commercials perpetuate traditional stereotypes of women and men.
The present study aimed to provide a psychosocial profile of 169 patients seeking cosmetic surgery, and to evaluate longitudinally the effects of the surgery on psychosocial functioning. The results were compared with a control group of 53 patients who had presented for functional hand surgery for Dupuytren's contracture. Pre-operatively all patients were interviewed by the surgeon and they completed the following questionnaires: Middlesex Hospital, Life Events, Social Adjustment, Locus of Control and Self-Esteem. Prior to surgery, significant differences were found on psychometric assessment between the cosmetic surgery and the functional hand surgery groups. Patients differed significantly on such parameters as aspects of social adjustment, number of life events and anxiety (free and phobic scales of the MHQ). There were also some differences evident between patients presenting for different types of cosmetic surgery. Three months following surgery psychometric assessment was repeated. There were changes in some parameters including those of self-esteem and life events. Implications of these findings and the methodological difficulties of the study were discussed.