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The impact of cosmetic surgery advertising on women’s body image and attitudes towards cosmetic surgery

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-09, 05:01 authored by Eleni-Marina Ashikali, Helga Dittmar, Susan Ayers
Cosmetic surgery is increasingly common, and the way it is advertised has raised concern (American Society of Plastic Surgeons [ASPS], 2004; British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons [BAAPS], 2008). Two experimental, between-participants studies examined the impact of cosmetic surgery advertising on body image and attitudes toward surgery. Study 1 examined the impact of different types of information in such advertising. Women (N = 161) viewed cosmetic surgery advertising containing either discount incentives, risk information, no additional information, or the control advertisements. Study 2 investigated the role of different imagery in cosmetic surgery advertising. Women (N = 151) viewed advertising containing images of models, clinics/their location, scalpels, or the control advertisements. Exposure to cosmetic surgery advertising led to increased dissatisfaction with weight (Study 1) and appearance (Studies 1 and 2). Moreover, materialism moderated weight dissatisfaction such that highly materialistic women were more weight dissatisfied when exposed to cosmetic surgery advertising (Study 1) and to advertising containing images of clinics (Study 2). Perceived benefits of surgery were lower following exposure to cosmetic surgery advertising, whereas consideration of undergoing surgery was higher in women exposed to advertising containing risk information (Study 1). Perception of risks associated with cosmetic surgery varied according to the types of images included in the advertisements (Study 2). Overall, results suggest advertising for cosmetic surgery impacts women’s body image negatively, and information provided in such advertising impacts attitudes toward surgery differently. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)


Publication status

  • Published


Psychology of Popular Media Culture




American Psychological Association


Dec 14

Page range


Department affiliated with

  • Psychology Publications

Full text available

  • No

Peer reviewed?

  • Yes

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