Bullied teens have extreme desire for plastic surgery, finds study
Teenagers involved in bullying, both victims and perpetrators, may have an increased desire for cosmetic surgery as compared to those not involved in such incidents, a new study suggests.
Researchers from University of Warwick in the UK found that perpetrators of bullying wanted to have plastic surgery to improve their appearance and increase their social status.
Victims of bullying, however, want to go under the knife because their psychological functioning is affected by being picked on, giving them lower self-esteem, more emotional problems and a desire to change their appearance, researchers said.
They screened nearly 2,800 teens for involvement in bullying as rated by themselves and their peers.
“Being victimised by peers resulted in poor psychological functioning, which increased desire for cosmetic surgery,” said Dieter Wolke, professor at University of Warwick.
“For bullies, cosmetic surgery may simply be another tactic to increase social status to look good and achieve dominance,” said Wolke.
The researchers focused on 752 adolescents, including 139 identified as victims of bullying, 146 as perpetrators of bullying, and 294 who were both victims and perpetrators. The remaining 173 teens were uninvolved in bullying.
Participants were asked whether they would like to have cosmetic surgery as a way of making themselves more attractive or changing something about their appearance.
The results showed that adolescents involved in bullying in any role were more interested in cosmetic surgery, compared to those uninvolved in bullying.
Desire for cosmetic surgery was highest in bullying victims, but was also increased in bullying perpetrators. Researchers found that 11.5% of bullying victims have an extreme desire to have cosmetic surgery, as well as 3.4% of bullies, and 8.8% of teenagers who both bully and are bullied. This is compared with less than one per cent of those who are unaffected by bullying.
Girls wanted to go under the knife more than boys. Of the sample group, 7.3% of girls had an extreme wish to have plastic surgery, compared with 2% of boys, researchers said.
“The desire for cosmetic surgery in bullied adolescents is immediate and long-lasting,” Wolke said.
The study was published in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
Follow @htlifeandstyle for more.