Cosmetic Surgery Today

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Researchers Say People Pursue Cosmetic Surgery Because of Fear of Rejection

Posted by Cosmetic Surgery Review on July 9, 2009

j0440325Some people choose to go under the knife to increase self-confidence, correct a deformity or unattractive feature, or simply achieve a more balanced appearance. However, some researchers believe that having cosmetic surgery may have a deeper psychological reason behind it.

According to a recent study published in the June issue of the journal Body Image, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Buffalo Lora E. Park, Ph.D. and lecturer in psychology of the University of Kent, Rachel M. Calogero, Ph.D. reported that cosmetic surgery may be a viable solution for relieving anxiety in those who are very sensitive towards rejection.

Researchers in this study pose the theory of “appearance-based rejection sensitivity”, measuring the person’s tendency to become anxious based on the prospect of being rejected because of their appearance. The study tracked the responses of 133 American college students who were asked to write an essay about either a negative or positive comment about their appearance they had received at some point in their lives. Researchers report that, “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.” (Source:

The experts point out that those who had been rejected based on their appearance at some point in their lives may have an increased sensitivity towards rejection as they mature. Therefore, cosmetic surgery becomes a more attractive option, if only to reduce anxiety about a possible rejection in the future.

The study did take into account the person’s self-perceived attractiveness and level of self-esteem.  Regardless of these other psychological attributes, the results show that the majority of people will tend to express interest in cosmetic surgery or making radical changes to their appearance simply because of an inherent fear of rejection.


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