Attitudes toward cosmetic surgery patients: The role of culture and social contact

Kim Pong Tam, Henry Kin Shing Ng, Young Hoon Kim, Victoria Wai Lan Yeung, Francis Yue Lok Cheung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Cosmetic surgery is increasingly popular globally, but how cosmetic surgery patients are socially evaluated is largely unknown. The present research documents attitudes toward these patients in multiple cultures (Hong Kong, Japan, and the United States). Across these cultures, attitudes toward cosmetic surgery patients were predominantly negative: Participants ascribed more negative attributes to cosmetic surgery patients and found cosmetic surgery not acceptable. Also, participants in Hong Kong and Japan were not willing to form social relationships, particularly intimate ones, with these patients. These attitudes were less negative in the United States than in Hong Kong and Japan, partly because social contact, which reduced negativity in attitudes toward cosmetic surgery patients, was more prevalent in the United States. These findings bear important implications for the subjective well-being of cosmetic surgery patients, who very often expect improvement in their social relationships through the surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)458-479
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Social Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jul 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology


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