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Reality TV, cosmetic surgey linked, says Rutgers-Camden researcher
Date:7/30/2010

CAMDEN Teenage years have long been linked with a heightened concern with appearance. Some reality TV shows take full advantage and tout happiness as just a nip/tuck away. A RutgersCamden psychologist has found that teens fond of these kinds of programs are more likely to join the millions who go under the knife each year. For bodies - and minds - still in development, these drastic decisions could have implications way after prom.

Charlotte Markey, an associate professor of psychology at RutgersCamden, with husband Patrick Markey of Villanova University, recently published research on this topic in the academic journal Body Image.

"When we think of cosmetic surgery, we don't think of it as a lifetime issue. There is lots of pressure to look a certain way and I don't blame them for succumbing; we're all guilty of feeling vulnerable. But what young men and women think of their bodies now will culminate over time and contribute to their overall health," notes the RutgersCamden psychologist. "What troubles me is that there's no conclusive data that cosmetic surgery even makes people happier, what has been documented is that it makes repeat customers."

The wife-and-husband team surveyed nearly 200 participants with an average age of 20 on their immediate responses to an 'extreme makeover' program or a show on home improvement incorporated specifically to mask the intent of the study. Both men and women were included in the study and the procedures examined were ones either gender could pursue.

As the RutgersCamden researcher suspected, women were more likely to want cosmetic surgery than men and viewers of the cosmetic surgery show were more inclined to consider the procedure for themselves than those who didn't tune in. What still shocks Markey are the handwritten responses to the cosmetic surgery show, including comments like "inspirational" and "I saw an unhappy girl get her dreams."

This saddens Markey
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Contact: Cathy Donovan
catkarm@camden.rutgers.edu
856-225-6627
Rutgers University
Source:Eurekalert

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