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Psychosocial Predictors of an Interest in Cosmetic Surgery among Young Norwegian Women: A Population-Based Study

Javo, Iiná Márjá; Sørlie, Tore MD, PhD

doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e3181bcf290

Background: The present study investigated psychosocial factors expected to predict an interest in cosmetic surgery. It was hypothesized that body dysmorphic disorder-like symptoms, personality, interpersonal attachment insecurity, low self-esteem, poor body image, dissatisfaction with sexual life, distorted eating behavior, emotional distress, low education, poor relationship with parents and friends, teasing history, social acceptance of cosmetic surgery, and low level of physical activity would relate to an interest in cosmetic surgery.

Methods: Questionnaire data were obtained from 1880 participants who responded to a survey distributed to a representative sample of 3500 Norwegian women between 18 and 35 years of age living in the two northernmost counties. Data were analyzed by univariate and multiple logistic regression analyses.

Results: Multiple regression analyses showed that an interest in cosmetic surgery was positively related to body dysmorphic disorder–like symptoms, body image orientation, having children, been teased for appearance, knowing someone who has had cosmetic surgery, and being recommended cosmetic surgery. Agreeability, body image evaluation, education, and quality of relationship with parents were negatively related to an interest in cosmetic surgery.

Conclusions: The study gives new insights into psychosocial factors predicting an interest in cosmetic surgery. In addition to previously known predictors, having been teased for appearance and having children were positive predictors, whereas education and quality of relationship with parents were negative predictors of an interest in cosmetic surgery. The results may contribute to a better understanding of the various factors that may motivate an individual to undergo cosmetic surgery. (Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 124: 2142, 2009.)

Tore Sørlie, MD, PhD, Department of Specialized Psychiatry, University Hospital of North Norway, PB 6124, 9291 Tromsø, Norway (e-mail:

From the Institute of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tromsø, and Department of Specialized Psychiatry, University Hospital of North Norway.

Reprinted with permission from Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. December 2009, 124(6):2142–2148. Copyright ©2009 by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Disclosure: The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

Received for publication November 26, 2008; accepted June 9, 2009.

Copyright © 2010 by American Society of Plastic Surgical Nurses