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Body Image. 2012 Jan;9(1):180-3. doi: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2011.10.007. Epub 2011 Nov 26.

Cosmetic surgery in inpatients with eating disorders: attitudes and experience.

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The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Baltimore, MD 21287, United States.


Body image disturbance is frequent among individuals undergoing cosmetic surgery and core to the pathology of eating disorders (ED); however, there is little research examining cosmetic surgery in ED. This study examined body image related measures, ED behaviors, and depression as predictors of attitudes toward cosmetic surgery in 129 women with ED. Patients who had undergone surgery (n=16, 12%) were compared to those who had not. Having a purging diagnosis, linking success to appearance, and making physical appearance comparisons were predictive of more favorable cosmetic surgery attitudes. All of those who had undergone surgery had purging diagnoses and, on average, were older, had higher BMIs, and were more likely to make physical appearance comparisons and know someone who had undergone surgery. In ED, acceptance and pursuit of cosmetic surgery appears to be related to social group influences more than weight and shape disturbance, media influences, or mood.

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