Reality TV spurs cosmetic surgery among youth

Monday, August 2, 2010

WASHINGTON - Youth fond of reality TV shows are more likely to join the millions who go under the knife each year.

These programmes, taking advantage of their insecurities linked with heightened concern over appearance, tout happiness as just a nip or tuck away, says a psychologist.

For bodies - and minds - still in development, these drastic decisions could have implications way after high school graduation.

Charlotte Markey, associate professor of psychology at the Rutgers University-Camden, US, with husband Patrick Markey of the Villanova University, published their research in the journal Body Image.

“When we think of cosmetic surgery, we don’t think of it as a lifetime issue. There is lots of pressure to look a certain way and I don’t blame them for succumbing; we’re all guilty of feeling vulnerable,” notes Charlotte Markey, according to a Rutgers release.

“But what young men and women think of their bodies now will culminate over time and contribute to their overall health,” said the psychologist.

“What troubles me is that there’s no conclusive data that cosmetic surgery even makes people happier, what has been documented is that it makes repeat customers.”

The wife-and-husband team surveyed nearly 200 participants with an average age of 20 on their immediate responses to an ‘extreme makeover’ programme or a show on home improvement - incorporated specifically to mask the intent of the study.

Both men and women were included in the study and the procedures examined were ones either gender could pursue.

As the Rutgers-Camden researcher suspected, women were more likely to want cosmetic surgery than men and viewers of the cosmetic surgery show were more inclined to consider the procedure for themselves than those who didn’t tune in.

Filed under: Fashion, Lifestyle, World

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