Cosmetic surgery appeals to men, women with appearance-based rejection sensitivity

Jun 30, 2009

Researchers have found that men and women who feel sensitive to rejection based on their physical appearance are more likely to express interest in having cosmetic surgery than those who are less sensitive to appearance-based rejection. This effect is particularly true when people recall negative comments about their physical appearance.

The study, which appeared in the June issue of the journal , was conducted by Lora E. Park, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology at the University at Buffalo; Rachel M. Calogero, Ph.D., lecturer in psychology at the University of Kent, and Melissa J. Harwin and Ann Marie DiRaddo, former graduate students in the UB Department of Psychology.

The study examined the role of appearance-based rejection sensitivity -- the tendency to anxiously expect rejection based on one's appearance -- among men and women's interest in cosmetic surgery. A copy of the study is available at http://www.buffalo.edu/news/pdf/Juneo09/LoraParkCosmeticSurgeryStudy.pdf.

For the study, a total of 133 American college students were randomly assigned to write an essay about either a negative or positive comment about their appearance that they had received in the past. Compared to participants with lower appearance-based rejection sensitivity, those with higher sensitivity felt more rejected and expressed greater interest in getting cosmetic surgery after recalling a negative versus positive appearance comment.

Results were found even after controlling for other individual difference variables, such as overall self-esteem, general rejection sensitivity, appearance contingent self worth and self-perceived attractiveness.

Negative appearance comments were most often made in reference to body weight/shape/size, the study participants reported, whereas positive appearance comments were most often made in reference to overall appearance. Peers/friends/ were the most frequently cited source of both positive and negative appearance comments.

"The results of this study suggest that individuals who anxiously expect rejection based on their appearance are vulnerable to the effects of negative comments about their appearance," says Park. "Sensitivity to appearance rejection may therefore be a key psychological variable to consider when examining responses to teasing related to appearance, especially with regard to feeling rejected and expressing interest in cosmetic surgery," she adds.

Source: University at Buffalo (news : web)

Explore further: Could summer camp be the key to world peace?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Study: Personality traits influence perceived attractiveness

Nov 29, 2007

A new study published in Personal Relationships examines the way in which perceptions of physical attractiveness are influenced by personality. The study finds that individuals – both men and women – who exhibit positi ...

Recommended for you

Could summer camp be the key to world peace?

7 hours ago

According to findings from a new study by University of Chicago Booth School of Business Professor Jane Risen, and Chicago Booth doctoral student Juliana Schroeder, it may at least be a start.

Gender disparities in cognition will not diminish

Jul 28, 2014

The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, investigated the extent to which improvements in living conditions and educational opportunities over a person's life affect cognitive abilities and th ...

Facial features are the key to first impressions

Jul 28, 2014

A new study by researchers in the Department of Psychology at the University of York shows that it is possible to accurately predict first impressions using measurements of physical features in everyday images of faces, such ...

User comments : 0