A Brief Online Cognitive Dissonance-Based Intervention to Reduce Consideration of Cosmetic Surgery and Improve Body Image Among Chinese Women

Yi Wu, Sandra Mulkens, Melissa Atkinson, Jessica Alleva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (SciVal)

Abstract

Across many cultures, women are evaluated based on their appearance, with narrow societal beauty ideals as the standard against which they are judged and, eventually, judge themselves. Women who internalize the beauty ideal are more likely to consider cosmetic surgery. Dissonance-based interventions targeting thin-ideal internalization are effective at preventing eating disorders and associated risk factors. In this study, we evaluated an online dissonance-based intervention targeting beauty-ideal internalization to reduce favorable attitudes toward cosmetic surgery among Chinese women. Chinese women who were dissatisfied with their appearance and who were considering cosmetic surgery were randomized to the intervention (n = 127, M age= 35.49) or to the educational brochure control condition (n = 98, M age= 32.97). Beauty-ideal internalization, favorable attitudes toward cosmetic surgery, facial appearance concerns, body satisfaction, and body appreciation were assessed at pretest, posttest, and 4-week follow-up. Intention-to-treat analyses showed that the intervention reduced beauty-ideal internalization and favorable attitudes toward cosmetic surgery at posttest, with small-to-medium effect sizes; however, effects were not sustained at follow-up. No effects were found for facial appearance concerns, body satisfaction, and body appreciation. This study provides preliminary evidence for the short-term efficacy of the dissonance-based intervention for reducing beauty-ideal internalization and favorable attitudes toward cosmetic surgery, and points to valuable directions for improvement. Additional online materials for this article are available on PWQ's website at http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/suppl/10.1177/03616843231183946.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-92
Number of pages13
JournalPsychology of Women Quarterly
Volume48
Issue number1
Early online date7 Jul 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This research was supported by a grant from the Chinese Scholarship Council.

Keywords

  • Chinese women
  • beauty-ideal internalization
  • cosmetic surgery
  • dissonance-based intervention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Gender Studies

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