The impact of cosmetic surgery media portrayals on body image and attitudes

Ashikali, Eleni-Marina (2014) The impact of cosmetic surgery media portrayals on body image and attitudes. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

The cosmetic surgery industry has rapidly expanded and Professional Associations for surgery in the UK and USA have expressed concern over the ways in which surgery is portrayed in the media. This thesis aimed to investigate how different portrayals of cosmetic surgery in the media impact women and adolescent girls’ body image and attitudes towards surgery. Moreover, it examined a number of moderating variables which may affect responses to such media.
The first three studies examined the impact of different aspects of cosmetic surgery advertising on adult women using experimental designs. Study 1 (N=161) looked at the effect of including discount incentives or risk information on women’s attitudes towards surgery and body image. Study 2 (N=151) examined the effect of different images in cosmetic surgery advertising (female models, locations, scalpels or control images) on the same outcomes. Study 3 (N=145) was a replication of Study 1, looking at whether discount incentives and risk information have a similar impact in Switzerland, a country with less exposure to cosmetic surgery. The final two studies focused on adolescent girls aged 15-18 using mixed methods. Study 4 was a qualitative focus-group investigation of girls’ (N=17) attitudes towards surgery. Study 5 experimentally examined the impact of different information provided in cosmetic surgery reality television (risks associated with surgery versus no risks) on girl’s (N=99) body image and attitudes towards cosmetic surgery.
Results from these studies consistently showed cosmetic surgery advertising and television shows have a negative impact on women and girls’ body image. Attitudes towards cosmetic surgery varied as a result of different content of advertising. Moreover, materialistic values moderated how women and girls responded to cosmetic surgery advertising or reality shows across all studies, whereas restrained eating, body dissatisfaction and basing one’s self-worth on appearance played a less consistent role in responses.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF0712 Developmental psychology Including infant psychology, child psychology, adolescence, adulthood > BF0724 Adolesence. Youth > BF0724.3 Special topics A-Z > BF0724.3.B55 Body image
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 05 Mar 2015 07:04
Last Modified: 28 Sep 2015 13:26
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/53075

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