Makeover TV feeds cosmetic surgery desire

Aug. 3, 2010 at 12:30 AM
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CAMDEN, N.J., Aug. 3 (UPI) -- Teens can obsess on their appearance but teens who are fans of makeover TV shows are more apt than others to get cosmetic surgery, U.S. researchers say.

Charlotte Markey, an associate professor of psychology at Rutgers-Camden (N.J.), with husband Patrick Markey of Villanova University, surveyed nearly 200 people -- average age of 20 -- on their immediate responses to an extreme makeover program or a show on home improvement.

The study, published in the journal Body Image, finds women were more likely than men to want cosmetic surgery and viewers of the cosmetic surgery show were more inclined than those who didn't watch the program to get this type of surgery.

Markey says she was saddened by the handwritten responses to the cosmetic surgery show, such as the content was "inspirational" and "I saw an unhappy girl get her dreams."

Programs such as ABC-TV's "Extreme Makeover," "Extreme Makeover-Home Edition," Fox's "The Swan," the drama "Nip/Tuck," MTV's" I Want a Famous Face," E's "Dr. 90210" and Oxygen's "Addicted to Beauty" can prompt people to think of outward appearance as the sole avenue to self satisfaction, but this reasoning is circular, Markey says.

"If plastic surgery makes you feel better about yourself, then why do you keep getting it done?" she asks. "This mindset is very similar to that of an anorexic wanting to lose just 5 more pounds."

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