Fear of rejection over their appearance is what drives people to look attractive, confirms a new study.
The research was led by Lora Park, assistant professor of psychology, University of Buffalo, along with her graduate student Ann Marie DiRaddo and Rachel Calogero, psychology lecturer at the University of Kent.
The researchers found that women showed greater sensitivity to appearance led rejection than men. This was particularly true of women who felt they needed to look attractive in order to be accepted by their peers.
The study also found that men and women who had internalised media ideals of attractiveness had higher levels of appearance-based rejection sensitivity than did their peers.
Thus, peer and media influences, rather than parental influence, play a key role in appearance-based rejection sensitivity.
"There is a lot of research to suggest that physically attractive people are less stigmatised by others in this society, and have significant advantages in many areas of life than those who are viewed as physically unattractive," Park said.
"Our study suggests that when people feel pressure to look attractive, whether from their friends or the media, they may be putting themselves at risk for experiencing negative outcomes that may limit their development and enjoyment of life in many ways."
The study is based on 220 US college students (106 females, 114 males) aged between 18 and 33 years, said a Buffalo university release.