The Bullied and The Bullies Both Want Plastic Surgery
A new study revealed that teens who are bullied said they would want plastic surgery, according to the study headed by researchers from University of Warwick, Coventry, United Kingdom.
According to Dieter Wolke, PhD, the main author of the study, the drive to go under the knife is related to poor psychological functioning.
“Being victimized by peers resulted in poor psychological functioning, which increased desire for cosmetic surgery,” Dr. Wolke said.
Interestingly, cosmetic surgery is not only something that is desired by bullied teens. Bullying perpetrators too said they would consider plastic surgery to pump up their dominance and social status.
This new research was published in the May issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).
The Study and Other Relevant Results
To further probe the link between the need for cosmetic surgery and bullying, the researchers invited British teens ages 11-16 to be respondents of the study.
The study was divided into two phases. In the first phase of the study, nearly 2,800 teens were screened for involvement in bullying, as rated by themselves and their peers.
The second phase focused on 752 adolescents, including 139 identified as victims of bullying, 146 as perpetrators of bullying, and 294 who were both victims and perpetrators. Common question was asked among the participants whether they will opt for cosmetic surgery to look more attractive.
The results were astonishing. The researchers found that teens involved in bullying in any role, whether they are bullied or the bullying perpetrators responded with high interest in cosmetic surgery. In contrast, those who were uninvolved in bullying showed low interest in cosmetic surgery.
In addition, interest in cosmetic surgery was higher in girls than boys. However, teens involved in bullying, including both boys and girls, had more desire for cosmetic surgery than their uninvolved peers.
Poor Psychological Functioning, Interest In Cosmetic Surgery
Previous research asserted that adults who are interested in cosmetic surgery reported past experiences of bullying. Similarly, interest for cosmetic surgery is also evident among teens based on the results of the recent study.
The new study suggests that the relationship between bullying and cosmetic surgery is already present in adolescents currently being victimized by their peers.
“The desire for cosmetic surgery in bullied adolescents is thus immediate and long-lasting,” Dr. Wolke and coauthors write.
Advice from The Researchers
Given that increased desire for cosmetic surgery is related to poor psychological functioning, the researchers suggest that plastic surgeons should consider screening for psychological vulnerability and past history of bullying victimization when evaluating patients for cosmetic surgery – in adults as well as adolescents.
Dr. Wolke and colleagues add, “Addressing the mental health of bullied adolescents may reduce their desire for cosmetic surgery.”