Article

The Effect of Hairdressing on the Self-Esteem of Men and Women

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Abstract

This study investigated the effect of enhancement of physical appearance through hairdressing on the self-esteem of men and women. In a pilot study, 20 clients (equal genders) of a hairdressing salon completed a 33-item questionnaire on aspects of self-esteem, prior to having their hair dressed, and the same number did so after hairdressing. Later, 100 clients completed 20-item parallel-form versions of the same instrument both before and after hairdressing. Women initially scored significantly higher on the self-esteem measure than did men, and they also achieved a significant gain following hairdressing, whereas men did not. There was a small but insignificant gain in inherent self-esteem with age for women, but not for men. Our finding of a higher initial self-esteem for females runs counter to the majority of previous results, but the gain following physical enhancement is in line with earlier studies. Possible influencing factors include the psychoanalytic view that haircutting (for men in particular) may symbolize bodily loss, that the social ambiance of the salon may have played a part, that social comparison may be involved, and that hairdressers may play a counselling role.

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... relating to identity, ageing and self-esteem often arising in discussions. This is thought to occur because hair is seen to be an integral part of self-identity and clients' self-esteem and generally increases after visiting the hairdresser, particularly for women (McFarquhar & Lowis, 2000;Ward & Holland, 2011). ...
... Concerns about ageing were a common theme with issues of self-neglect or signs of dementia sometimes raised. These observations confirm those of Anderson et al., (2010) as well as Hurd Clarke and Korotchenko (2010), McFarquhar and Lowis (2000) and Ward and Holland (2011) who emphasised the particular significance of hair in relation to the self-image and ageing process in women. Other important topics reflective of previous studies included discussions of structural or financial problems (Anderson et al., 2010;Cowen, 1982;Cowen et al., 1979;Sattler & Deane, 2016), but this study found additional subthemes about homelessness, politics, religion and sexual identity. ...
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Hairdressing is one of the few non‐health professional occupations where workers physically interact with clients, who are often comfortable in confiding private information to them. Despite this, relatively little is known about how hairdressers understand and experience this role as informal confidants. This study aimed to address this using an in‐depth qualitative approach to capture what hairdressers are hearing from clients, and how hairdressers respond and feel about supporting clients. Participant led interviews with prompt questions were conducted in South Australia in 2019, transcribed and analysed using Thematic Analysis. Results indicate clients disclose information about family, health, identity, mental health and women's health. Important themes generated in relation to the role of hairdressers included: their need to have a client focus; blurring role boundaries; behaving like a therapist and, providing a place of safety and advice, while also maintaining confidentiality. Hairdressers reported feeling undervalued, emotionally drained, and in need of support in their role, but conversely, also reported having good job satisfaction. Further research is needed to examine whether hairdresser‐client interactions may promote better mental and physical health outcomes for clients due to psychological buffering arising from the social support provided by hairdressers, as well as the impact on hairdressers and implications for their training.
... This may lead to a difference in the care workers approach and attitude, for example the latter may be perceived as having a lower social status and not respected as much as the former. As McFarquhar and Lowis (2000) noted Western society and culture enforce the notion that people generally, but women in particular, need to be beautiful (McFarquhar and Lowis, 2000). ...
... This was mentioned by some of the participants within this thesis, and how care homes were thought to be demonstrating elements of person-centred care by offering hairdressing (see quote 054, 21:15, on page 252 of chapter six). Research has shown that hair is important to maintain self-esteem, in particular for women, and this increases as they age (McFarquhar and Lowis, 2000). ...
Thesis
Background Many have reported the difficulty of defining ‘quality’ with several concepts emerging to characterise quality end of life care. People with dementia have been described as the ‘disadvantaged dying’ with poor end of life care. Towards the end of life people with dementia cannot report on the care they receive. It is therefore important to talk to carers; however, few have explored the views about end of life care from the carers’ perspective. Aim To explore the features of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ quality end of life care for people with dementia from the perspective of family carers. Method 1) A systematic review of qualitative studies which explored family carers’ views of quality end of life care for people with dementia. 2) A qualitative study with 46 in-depth interviews with carers analysed using thematic analysis methods. Purposive sampling was used to recruit 1) family carers of someone who had recently received a diagnosis of dementia, 2) family carers currently caring for someone with dementia, and 3) bereaved family carers. Results Many elements to ‘good’ care were identified including: tailoring care, attention to the individual, respect and dignity. Participants perceived some basic principles such as compassion were lacking, particularly from nurses. The finer details of care such as clothing and appearance were important manifestations of social identity and personhood. Care for the carer was also important, with carers often being left to act as a care manager and navigate the health and social care systems. Conclusion At end of life not everyone with dementia will require input from specialist palliative care services; there are many basic principles to good quality end of life care. This study suggests that end of life care for someone with dementia may not be that different to dementia care in general.
... Even when these personal-service encounters take place in health and social-care facilities such as hospitals, care homes and palliative-care settings (Higginson, Hearn and Myers 2000), they are rarely scrutinised as are other aspects of these environments. There is evidence, however, that hair is integral to our sense of self (Batchelor 2001) and that hairdressing is associated with self-esteem, especially for women, and that this association increases with age (McFarquhar and Lowis 2000). As a particular type of body work (Wolkowitz 2002(Wolkowitz , 2006, hairdressing is simultaneously a site of production (of an image) and consumption (of a service) (Stevenson 2001). ...
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