Social media and low self-compassion behind rise in cosmetic surgery

November 10, 2023

But why is social media so persuasive and what is driving young women’s attitudes to cosmetic surgery? Cosmetic surgery has become an increasingly popular way to change a person’s appearance. Today, almost seven million Australians (38% of the adult population) are considering cosmetic surgery in the next 10 years. Not surprisingly, the increase in social media use has been accompanied by an increase in young women having cosmetic surgery. “Our study found that cosmetic procedures were well accepted among young women, and that a higher use of social media correlated with a higher acceptance of cosmetic surgery.

25 September 2023

When Kylie Jenner famously admitted that her signature pout was the result of lip fillers, there was a significant increase in interest and uptake of the cosmetic procedure. That’s the power of social media.

But why is social media so persuasive and what is driving young women’s attitudes to cosmetic surgery?  

In a new University of South Australia study, researchers have explored just this, finding that young women who regularly engage with social media were excessively self-judgemental and more likely to consider cosmetic surgery.

The study of 238 young Australian women (aged 18-29) also identified that 16% of women had already received cosmetic surgery and that more than half (54%) would consider having it in the future. Only 31% said that they would not undertake surgical cosmetic procedures.

Cosmetic surgery has become an increasingly popular way to change a person’s appearance. From 2010 to 2018, cosmetic procedures and surgeries almost doubled from 117,000 to more than 225,000. Today, almost seven million Australians (38% of the adult population) are considering cosmetic surgery in the next 10 years.

UniSA researcher and PhD candidate, Lauren Conboy, says the study highlights the profound and concerning impacts of social networking sites on young women’s body perceptions and attitudes to cosmetic surgery.

“The prevalence of body dissatisfaction among young women has long been a pervasive issue, with social media promoting unattainable beauty standards,” Conboy says.

“In Australia, young adults are among the greatest users of social networking sites, so their exposure to unrealistic body ideals is high. Not surprisingly, the increase in social media use has been accompanied by an increase in young women having cosmetic surgery.

“In this study we investigated how self-compassion might alter this relationship so that we can understand what we can do to influence positive psychosocial wellbeing.

“Self-compassion is a about accepting flaws with neutrality. When we have positive self-compassion, we are kinder and more understanding towards ourselves; but when we have negative self-compassion we tend to overestimate and criticise our flaws.

“Our study found that cosmetic procedures were well accepted among young women, and that a higher use of social media correlated with a higher acceptance of cosmetic surgery.

“Specifically, we found that young women who over-identify with personal attributes that they believe are not attractive, are more likely to feel bad about themselves and despite recognising this, can’t seem to break away from these negative thoughts. Over-identification was the most important predictor of positive attitudes towards cosmetic surgery.”

Co-researcher, UniSA’s Dr John Mingoia, says more must be done to help young women from striving for unrealistic and potentially harmful body images as portrayed on social media.

“Social networking sites are clearly a pervasive mode of comparison and body dissatisfaction for young women; however, due to their extreme popularity, they present an opportune platform to disseminate messages that may counter potentially harmful appearance-related content,” Dr Mingoia says.

“Research tells us that even after women get a cosmetic procedure, less than 40% are satisfied with their bodies post-surgery.

“Clinicians need to test and confirm the psychosocial safety of young women who are possibly influenced my media representations of beauty, before they go ‘under the knife’.

“If young women continue to access cosmetic surgery without addressing underlying self-compassion concerns, they may never feel content in their own body.”

 

Notes to editors:

  • The most frequently used social networking sites (SNS) were Facebook (91.18%), closely followed by Instagram (90.76%) and Facebook Messenger (85.29%).
  • The most preferred SNSs were Instagram (34.03%) and TikTok (28.15%).

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

 

Media contact: Annabel Mansfield M: +61 479 182 489 E: [email protected]

Lauren Conboy E: [email protected]

Dr John Mingoia E: [email protected]

The source of this news is from University of South Australia

Popular in Research

1

3 days ago

Bringing Crises into Focus

2

Jun 14, 2024

Visionary cognitive neuroscientist Susan Courtney dies at 57

3

Jun 7, 2024

From ashes to adversity: Lessons from South Australia's business recovery amidst bushfires and pandemic

4

Jun 14, 2024

Tornados leave trail of destruction as 4 injured, hundreds of homes damaged

5

Jun 14, 2024

SV-faculty becomes partner in two new doctoral networks

Statement by NYU Spokesperson John Beckman about Situation on Greene St. Walkway

3 days ago

NATO chief says Ukraine can still win war despite Russian advances

3 days ago

Trump, Biden and CNN Prepare for a Hostile Debate (With Muted Mics)

3 days ago

The Resistance to a New Trump Administration Has Already Started

3 days ago

Weaving memory into textiles

2 hours ago

How Likely are English Learners to Graduate from High School? New Study Shows It Depends on Race, Gender, and Income

1 day ago