A study has found that the fear of rejection based on physical appearance is paramount in men and women who opt for cosmetic surgery.
According to the study's findings, men and women who are highly sensitive to rejection based on physical appearance are more likely to express interest in having cosmetic surgery than those who are less sensitive to appearance-based rejection.
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The researchers behind 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.
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.
The findings revealed 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.
The negative appearance comments were most often made in reference to body weight/shape/size, whereas positive appearance comments were most often made in reference to overall appearance.
Peers/friends/romantic partners were the most frequently cited sources 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," said Dr. Lora E. Park, assistant professor of Psychology at the University at Buffalo.
"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 added.
The study appears in the journal Body Image.