Future Psychological Studies
Essay Preview: Future Psychological Studies
Report this essay
1.Future psychological studies of plastic surgery patients need to focus on body image, according to the authors of a historical review of cosmetic surgery patients. “We really dont know what motivates people to seek plastic surgery,” admits Linton Whitaker, chief of plastic surgery and director of the Center for Human Appearance, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia. “We need to probe these issues so we can clarify which patients will benefit from plastic surgery.”
2.Covering the psychological research completed in the last forty years, the review was designed to address two basic questions: Are there types of patients for whom plastic surgery is inappropriate? and What is the likelihood that patients will benefit psychologically from cosmetic surgery? The authors conclude that the existing research has not addressed either of these questions completely. They recommend that future research take a new direction and focus on body image in cosmetic surgery patients.
3.Body image–defined as the perceptions, thoughts, and feelings a person has about his or her physical appearance–is thought to play an important role in self-esteem for many individuals. In addition, physical appearance and body image influence how persons are perceived by others. Research shows that attractive people are viewed more positively in practically every situation studied, such as education, employment, health care, legal proceedings, and romantic encounters.
4.”Body image dissatisfaction is pervasive in America. We believe this dissatisfaction may motivate many persons to undergo cosmetic surgery,” indicates David Sarwer, assistant professor of psychology in psychiatry and surgery at the Center for Human Appearance. “Many persons hope that cosmetic surgery will help them feel better about their appearance, which, in turn, may promote other psychological benefits, such as improved self-esteem. However, research is needed to determine if cosmetic surgery leads to improvement in body image.”
5.The authors propose several priorities for future research with cosmetic surgery patients. These include assessing the extent of body image dissatisfaction experienced by cosmetic surgery patients; determining if this dissatisfaction varies by body part; and documenting changes in body image following cosmetic surgery. Such studies are important to demonstrate the potential psychological benefits of cosmetic surgery, they maintain.
6.In addition, they stress the importance of identifying patients with extreme body image dissatisfaction who may be inappropriate for surgery. Extreme body image dissatisfaction can be a symptom of body dysmorphic disorder, a psychiatric condition defined as a preoccupation with a slight defect in appearance that leads to excessive concern and interruption in daily functioning. Although the percentage of cosmetic surgery patients with that disorder is thought to be small, these individuals do not seem to be good candidates for cosmetic surgery, which appears to exacerbate the symptoms of body dysmorphic disorder in some individuals, while others may become preoccupied with a new defect. Ultimately, medication or psychotherapy may be the most appropriate treatment.
Thinking about the Argument
1.Reread the first paragraph. What issue is being discussed? How does the article create the authority to offer an opinion on this matter?
2.According to the article, what is body image? How does this compare with the definition you came up with in Before You Read on page 694?
3.In what ways does a negative body image serve as a motivation for plastic surgery? Explain.
4.How do physicians try to determine whether plastic