A new study advancing from the University of Warwick in England associate the desire for cosmetic surgery with the act of bullying.
The study was published in journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery stated that "Our results suggest that cosmetic surgeons should screen candidates for psychological vulnerability and history of bullying."
Researchers from the Department of Psychology and Warwick Medical School screened nearly 2,800 adolescents in the first phase aged 11 to 16 in UK secondary schools for their involvement in bullying, both through self and peer assessment.
The second phase 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 revealed that the teens involved in bullying in any role were more interested in cosmetic surgery, compared to those not involved in bullying.
The reason for desiring plastic surgery however varied, victims may be more likely to want to change their appearance due to the effect bullying has on their self-esteem. Bullies, on the other hand, may want plastic surgery out of a desire to be admired or looked up to.
"Being victimized by peers resulted in poor psychological functioning, which increased desire for cosmetic surgery. For bullies, cosmetic surgery may simply be another tactic to increase social status […] to look good and achieve dominance”, said Professor Dieter Wolke, lead author of the study.
"Our main message to plastic surgeons is: If young people present with a desire to have a cosmetic procedure, screen for bullying and mental health," he added. "There may be other solutions that help without risk and address the root problem."