Body image

“Is there a significant relationship between teenage (ages 13-19) plastic surgeries and the teenagers’ relationship with the mother and the relationship with the father?”


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Body image issues in adolescence surrounding social media and societal pressures with much research attention in recent years (Cerniglia et al., 2017). As well as body image being studied as a topic in its own right, psychological well-being of the youth has been tied to parental roles and also been examined as a correlate of other behaviors including depression, substance abuse, eating disorders (Delvecchio et al., 2015). Lower quality of the parental-adolescent relationship has proven to have an impact on the adolescents psychosocial functioning. Parental roles in their child’s life has a major impact on the psychopathological symptoms of the child (Nelemans et al., 2016). In this case we will consider negative parent-adolescent relationships as inconsistent or inattentive parenting and positive parenting like providing the child with praise and providing support (Niehaus et al., 2020).


It has been suggested that approximately 40 to 60% of adolescents are dissatisfied with some characteristic of their physical appearance (Dion et al., 2015) and has been found to have a serious and sometimes long term negative impact on psychological well-being. The dissatisfaction lies on a spectrum and is considered continuous or dimensional. Issues range from slight discontent to obsessive nature. 3.4% of adolescents from 12 to 18 years of age showed symptoms of Body Dysmorphic Disorder(BDD), a subtype of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). DSM-5 characterizes body dysmorphia by “preoccupation with one or more perceived defects or flaws in physical appearance that are not observable or appear only slight to others. Excessive repetitive behaviors such as looking in the mirror or mental acts such as comparing are carried out in reaction to the preoccupation.  BDD is reported to be due at least in part to dysfunctional backgrounds, including abuse and unfavorable childhood experiences such teasing, that lead to low self-esteem and insecurities (Higgins and Wysong, 2018). Plastic surgery has become more common over the last two decades with a 300% rise in cosmetic procedures since 2002 (Higgins and Wysong, 2018). Cosmetic surgery is defined by the American Board of Plastic Surgery as “Plastic surgery is defined as a surgical specialty dedicated to reconstruction of facial and body defects due to birth disorders, trauma, burns, and disease. Plastic surgery is intended to correct dysfunctional areas of the body and is, by definition, reconstructive in nature.” According to American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) statistics, 64,470 cosmetic surgical procedures were performed on people age 13-19 in 2015, while 161,700 cosmetic minimally-invasive procedures were performed.

In response to this research, while screening adolescent patients before plastic surgeries, family professional mental health clinicians need to include parental relationships into the picture. The researcher will conduct a survey of adolescents considering plastic surgery with the principle aim of examining parent-adolescent relationships.


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