Researchers Link Cosmetic Surgery & Reality TV in Maryland (MD) | by Will Surgical Arts

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Michael J. Will, MD, DDS, FACS
Maryland (301) 874-1707

Researchers Link Cosmetic Surgery & Reality TV

According to a recent study, teens who watch cosmetic surgery reality TV shows are more likely to have an interest in getting cosmetic surgery for themselves.

Published in the journal Body Image, the study’s results showed that “participants who reported favorable impressions of reality television shows featuring cosmetic surgery were more likely to indicate interest in pursuing surgery,” according to the abstract.

There were two parts to the study. The researchers, Charlotte Markey, an associate professor of psychology at Rutgers–Camden, and her husband Patrick Markey of Villanova University, surveyed 170 participants to assess their impression of reality TV shows that feature cosmetic surgery (such as Extreme Makeover), appearance satisfaction, self-esteem, and their interest in cosmetic surgery.

A second part of the study asked 189 participants (51% female) for their reactions to a TV show; half were shown a cosmetic surgery makeover program and the other half a show on home improvement.

The results showed that women were more likely to want cosmetic surgery than men, and that viewers of the cosmetic surgery show were more inclined to consider the procedure for themselves than those who didn’t view the show.

The studies were done to “examine the influence of media messages about cosmetic surgery on youths’ interest in altering their own physical appearance,” according to the abstract of the article, titled “A correlational and experimental examination of reality television viewing and interest in cosmetic surgery.”

Cosmetic makeover shows include the now-canceled Extreme Makeover, Fox’s The Swan, MTV’s I Want a Famous Face, E’s Dr. 90210 and Oxygen’s Addicted to Beauty.

To read the abstract visit the Science Direct website.

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