Competitive Orientations and Men’s Acceptance of Cosmetic Surgery


As with women, men are experiencing increased pressure to achieve media-conveyed societal ideals for appearance and their consideration of cosmetic surgery as a means to enhance their appearance for competitive advantage in social and career realms has been increasing. This study considered individual differences in competitive orientations and the acceptance of cosmetic surgery among men. Hypercompetitiveness (psychologically unhealthy) was predictive of acceptance of cosmetic surgery even after age, self-esteem, body mass index, and body dysmorphia were taken into account. Personal development competitiveness (psychologically healthy) was negatively associated with body dysmorphia and was not predictive of acceptance of cosmetic surgery among men. These results for men, along with previous research among women (Thornton et al., 2013), indicate that a hypercompetitive orientation contributes to the consideration of cosmetic surgery independent of body image concerns for both men and women.

Share and Cite:

Thornton, B. , Ryckman, R. & Gold, J. (2013). Competitive Orientations and Men’s Acceptance of Cosmetic Surgery. Psychology, 4, 950-955. doi: 10.4236/psych.2013.412137.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Agliata, D., & Tantleff-Dunn, S. (2004). The impact of media exposure on males’ body image. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 23, 7-22.
[2] American Psychological Association (2007). Report of the APA task force on the sexualization of girls. Washington, DC: Author.
[3] American Society of Plastic Surgeons (2012). Plastic surgery statistics report.
[4] Bessenoff, G. R. (2006). Can the media affect us? Social comparison, self-discrepancy, and the thin ideal. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 30, 2369-2251.
[5] Brownmiller, S. (1984). Femininity. New York: Simon & Schuster.
[6] Burckle, M. A., Ryckman, R. M., Gold, J. A., Thornton, B., & Audesse, R. J. (1999). Forms of competitive attitude and achievement orientation in relation to disordered eating. Sex Roles, 40, 853-870.
[7] Buss, D. M. (1989). Sex differences in human mate preferences: Evolutionary hypotheses tested in 37 cultures. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 12, 1-49.
[8] Buss, D. M., & Dedden, L. (1990). Derogation of competitors. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 7, 395-422.
[9] Callaghan, G. M., Lopez, A., Wong, L., Northcross, J., & Anderson, K. R. (2011). Predicting consideration of cosmetic surgery in a college population: A continuum of body image disturbance and the importance of coping strategies. Body Image, 8, 267-274.
[10] Calogero, R. M., Pina, A., Park, L., & Rahemtulla, Z. (2010). The role of sexual objectification in college women’s cosmetic surgery attitudes. Sex Roles, 63, 32-41.
[11] Cash, T. F. (2000). Manuals for the appearance schemas inventory, body image ideals questionnaire, multidimensional body-self relations questionnaire, and situational inventory of body-image dysphoria.
[12] Cash, T. (2002). The situational inventory of body-image dysphoria: Psychometric evidence and development of a short form. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 32, 362-366.
[13] Collier, S. A., Ryckman, R. M., Thornton, B., & Gold, J. A. (2010). Competitive personality attitudes and forgiveness of others. Journal of Psychology, 144, 535-543.
[14] Crerand, C. E., Franklin, M. E., & Sarwer, D. B. (2006). Body dysmorphic disorder and cosmetic surgery. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 118, 1167-1180.
[15] Crerarnd, C. E., Menard, W., & Phillips, K. A. (2010). Surgical and minimally invasive cosmetic procedures among persons with body dysmorphic disorder. Annals of Plastic Surgery, 65, 11-16.
[16] Darwin, C. (1871). The descent of man and selection in relation to sex. London: John Murray.
[17] Davis, C., Karvinen, K., & McCreary, D. R. (2005). Personality correlates of a drive for muscularity in young men. Personality and Individual Differences, 39, 349-359.
[18] Derenne, J. L., & Beresin, E. V. (2006). Body image, media, and eating disorders. Academic Psychiatry, 30, 257-261.
[19] Dru, V. (2003). Relationships between an ego orientation scale and a hypercompetitive scale: Their correlates with dogmatism and authoritarianism factors. Personality and Individual Differences, 35, 1509-1524.
[20] Faludi, S. (1999). Stiffed: The betrayal of the American man. New York: Harper Collins.
[21] Fisher, M., & Cox, A. (2011). Four strategies used during intrasexual competition for mates. Personal Relationships, 18, 20-38.
[22] Franzoi, S. (1995). The body-as-object versus the body-as-process: Gender differences and gender considerations. Sex Roles, 33, 417-437.
[23] Fredrickson, B. L., & Roberts, T. (1997). Objectification theory: Toward understanding women’s lived experiences and mental health risks. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 21, 173-206.
[24] Hatfield, E., & Sprecher, S. (1986). Mirror, mirror...The importance of looks in everyday life. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.
[25] Helmreich, R., & Stapp, J. (1974). Short forms of the Texas Social Behavior Inventory (TSBI), an objective measure of self-esteem. Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society, 4, 473-475.
[26] Henderson-King, D., & Henderson-King, E. (2005). Acceptance of cosmetic surgery: Scale development and validation. Body Image, 2, 137-149.
[27] Henderson-King, D., & Brooks, K. D. (2009). Materialism, sociocultural appearance messages, and parental attitudes predict college women’s attitudes about cosmetic surgery. Psychology of Women’s Quarterly, 33, 133-142.
[28] Horney, K. (1937). The neurotic personality of our time. New York: Norton.
[29] Jackson, L. A. (1992). Physical appearance and gender: Sociobiological and sociocultural perspectives. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.
[30] Langlois, J. H., Kalakanis, L., Rubenstein, A. J., Larson, A., Hallam, M., & Smoot, M. (2000). Maxims or myths of beauty? A meta-analytic and theoretical review. Psychological Bulletin, 126, 390-423.
[31] Margraf, J., Meyer, A. H., & Lavallee, K. L. (2013). Well-being from the knife? Psychological effects of aesthetic surgery. Clinical Psychological Science, 1, 239-252.
[32] Menzel, J. E., Sperry, S. L., Small, B., Thompson, J. K., Sarwer, D. B., & Cash, T. F. (2011). Internalization of appearance ideals and cosmetic surgery attitudes: A test of the tripartite influence model of body image. Sex Roles, 65, 469-477.
[33] Moradi, B., & Huang, Y. (2008). Objectification theory and psychology of women: A decade of advances and future directions. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 32, 377-398.
[34] Muth, J. L., & Cash, T. F. (1997). Body-image attitudes: What difference does gender make? Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 27, 1438-1452.
[35] Pope, H. G., Gruber, A. J., Choi, P., Olivardia, R., & Phillips, K. A. (1997). Muscle dysmorphia: An unrecognized form of body dysmorphia disorder. Psychosomatics, 38, 548-557.
[36] Pope, H. G., Phillips, K. A., & Olivardia, R. (2000). The Adonis complex: The secret crisis of male body obsession. New York: The Free Press.
[37] Ross, S. R., Rausch, M. K., & Canada, K. E. (2003). Competition and cooperation in the five-factor model: Individual differences in achievement orientation. Journal of Psychology, 137, 323-337.
[38] Rothblum, E. D. (1994). ‘I’ll die for the revolution but don’t ask me not to diet’: Feminism and the continuing stigmatization of obesity. In P. Fallon, M. A. Katzman, & S. C. Wooley (Eds.), Feminist perspectives on eating disorders (pp. 53-76). New York: Guilford Press.
[39] Ryckman, R. M., & Hamel, J. (1992). Female adolescents’ motives related to involvement in organized team sports. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 23, 147-160.
[40] Ryckman, R. M., Hammer, M., Kaczor, L. M., & Gold, J. A. (1990). Construction of a hypercompetitive attitude scale. Journal of Personality Assessment, 55, 620-629.
[41] Ryckman, R. M., Hammer, M., Kaczor, L. M., & Gold, J. A. (1996). Construction of a personal development competitive attitude scale. Journal of Personality Assessment, 66, 374-386.
[42] Ryckman, R. M., Libby, C. R., van den Borne, B., Gold, J. A., & Lindner, M. A. (1997). Values of hypercompetitive and personal development competitive individuals. Journal of Personality Assessment, 69, 271-283.
[43] Ryckman, R. M., Thornton, B., Gold, J. A., & Burckle, M. A. (2002). Romantic relationships of hypercompetive individuals. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 21, 517-530.
[44] Ryckman, R. M., Thornton, B., & Butler, J. C. (1994). Personality correlates of the Hypercompetitive Attitude Scale: Validity tests of Horney’s theory of neurosis. Journal of Personality Assessment, 62, 84-94.
[45] Sherrow, V. (2001). For appearance’ sake: The historical encyclopedia of good looks, beauty, and grooming. Westport, CT: Oryx Press.
[46] Slevec, S., & Tiggemann, M. (2010). Attitudes toward cosmetic surgery in middle aged women: Body image, aging anxiety, and the media. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 34, 65-74.
[47] Thompson, J. K., & Cafri, G. (2007). The muscular ideal. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
[48] Thompson, J. K., Schaefer, L., & Menzel, J. (2012). Internalization of the thin and muscular ideal. In T. F. Cash (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Body Image and Human Appearance (pp. 499-504). Waltham, MA: Academic Press.
[49] Thornton, B., Lovley, A., Ryckman, R. M., & Gold, J. A. (2009). Playing dumb and knowing it all: Competitive orientation and impression management strategies. Individual Differences Research, 7, 265-271.
[50] Thornton, B., Ryckman, R. M., & Gold, J. A. (2013). Competitive orienttations and women’s acceptance of cosmetic surgery. Psychology: Individual Development, 4, 67-72.
[51] Tignol, J., Biraben-Gotzamanis, L., Martin-Guehl, C., Grabot, D., & Aouizerate, B. (2007). Body dysmorphic disorder and cosmetic surgery: Evolution of 24 subjects with a minimal defect in appearance 5 years after their request for cosmetic surgery. European Psychiatry, 22, 520-524.
[52] Veale, D. (2000). Outcome of cosmetic surgery and ‘DIY’ surgery in patients with body dysmorphic disorder. The Psychiatrist, 24, 218-221.
[53] Veale, D. (2004). Advances in a cognitive behavioral model of body dysmorphic disorder. Body Image, 1, 113-125.
[54] Watson, P. J., Morris, R. J., & Miller, L. (1998). Narcissism and the self as continuum: Correlations with assertiveeness and Hypercompetitiveness. Imagination, Cognition, and Personality, 17, 249-259.
[55] Wolf, N. (1991). The beauty myth: How images of beauty are used against women. New York: William Morrow and Company.

Copyright © 2021 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.