Graduation Year

2007

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Psychology

Major Professor

J. Kevin Thompson, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Joseph Vandello, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jamie Goldenberg, Ph.D.

Keywords

body image, plastic surgery, television, media, eating disorders

Abstract

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (2006), the number of cosmetic procedures has increased to over 10 million in 2005, showing a 38% increase from 2000. This increase in cosmetic surgery prevalence is paralleled by a surge in reality cosmetic makeover television programming, such as Extreme Makeover and Dr. 90210. No research to date has assessed the potential relationships between reality media viewership and body image, eating pathology, or cosmetic surgery attitudes. The tripartite model of core influence (Thompson et al., 1999) is presented as a theoretical framework for conceptualizing the link between media influences, internalization, body image dissatisfaction, and outcomes such as eating disorder symptomatology and cosmetic surgery attitudes. The current study examines the relationships between reality cosmetic makeover viewership, cosmetic surgery attitudes, body image, and eating disorder symptomatology in a sample of 2057 college females. Viewership of reality cosmetic surgery shows was significantly related to more favorable cosmetic surgery attitudes, perceived pressure to have cosmetic surgery, past attainment of a cosmetic procedure, overall body dissatisfaction, thin ideal internalization, eating disorder symptomatology, and a decreased fear of surgery. Although the current study is correlational, it provides a framework for future hypothesis testing and elucidates the link between contemporary media influences, body dissatisfaction, eating disturbance, and cosmetic surgery attitudes and behaviors.

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