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New Study Says More Children Want Plastic Surgery Because Of Bullying

If you’ve ever been the victim of bullying, you wished you could change the feature making you a “target.” For many plastic surgery patients, that’s exactly what they are doing.

“Sometimes patients are already struggling with their image when they schedule a consultation,” says Dr. Andrew Miller a New York rhinoplasty and liposuction specialist. “Other times, their focus on a disliked feature has been brought on by repetitive bullying.”

Bullying Linked to Intense Cosmetic Surgery Desire

Bullying has caused many problems from depression, anxiety to self-esteem issues. However, most recent studies suggest that those who were involved in bullying in any form have a higher desire to undergo cosmetic surgery. This remains true to both the victims and the perpetrators of nasty comments. These teenagers may heighten their chances of going under the knife for the following reasons:

For the victims

Since their psychological functioning is affected by being picked on, these traumatic experiences leave them with a lower self-esteem and more emotional problems. With these circumstances, a burning desire to change their appearance also becomes intense.

For the perpetrators

The study found that these people want to have plastic surgery to improve their appearance and increase their social status. Scientists claim that these people, who are designed to knock someone’s confidence, are up to their quest to achieve social dominance causes them to seek procedures to improve their appearance.

Perhaps what they did to others backfired on them and that’s why they fear to experience what they used to do to other people. In other words, they want to remain at their best so they don’t experience bullying by all means.

Researchers from the University of Warwick in the UK screened nearly 2,800 teens for involvement in bullying as rated by themselves and their peers.

“Being victimized by peers resulted in poor psychological functioning, which increased the desire for cosmetic surgery,” said Dieter Wolke, a professor at the University of Warwick.

“For bullies, cosmetic surgery may simply be another tactic to increase social status to look good and achieve dominance,” said Wolke.

The researchers 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.

Neither Party is Safe

The results showed that adolescents involved in bullying in any role were more interested in cosmetic surgery, compared to those uninvolved in bullying. The desire for cosmetic surgery was highest in bullying victims but was also increased in bullying perpetrators.

The desire for cosmetic surgery was highest in victims of bullying but was also increased in bullying perpetrators. Researchers found that 11.5 percent of bullying victims have an extreme desire to have cosmetic surgery. Also, the same thing goes for approximately 3.4 percent of bullies and 8.8 percent of teenagers who both bully and are bullied. These figures are compared with less than one percent of those who are unaffected by bullying.

Gender Lines

Girls wanted to go under the knife more than boys. Of the sample group, 7.3 per cent of girls had an extreme wish to have plastic surgery, compared with 2 percent of boys, researchers said. “The desire for cosmetic surgery in bullied adolescents is immediate and long-lasting,” Wolke said.

Between 2014 and 2015, 15.9 million surgical and minimally invasive procedures were performed in the US. Almost 230,000 of those procedures were performed on 13-19-year-old individuals.

Mental Effects

The rates of cosmetic surgery were also increasing in Britain, the study stated. The researchers also emphasized that addressing mental health issues could reduce the desire for plastic surgery. Likewise, the team also affirmed that cosmetic surgeons should screen patients for history of bullying for better evaluation and assessment.

“The desire for cosmetic surgery in bullied adolescents is immediate and long-lasting. Our results suggest that cosmetic surgeons should screen candidates for psychological vulnerability and history of bullying,” the team added.

Almost 2,800 adolescents aged 11 to 16 in Britain secondary schools were screened for their involvement in bullying. This was done through self-evaluation and peer assessment.

The said recent study was published in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.


Bullying victimization is related to poor psychological functioning. Thus, both are related to a greater desire for cosmetic surgery in adolescents. Cosmetic surgeons should screen candidates for psychological vulnerability and may want to include a short screening questionnaire for a history of peer victimization.

Young people could have less of a desire for plastic surgery if mental health issues arising from bullying are addressed, according to the authors.

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