Date of Award

Fall 12-2016

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Research and Administration

Committee Chair

Dr. Kyna Shelley

Committee Chair Department

Educational Research and Administration

Committee Member 2

Dr. Lilian Hill

Committee Member 2 Department

Educational Research and Administration

Committee Member 3

Dr. Eric Platt

Committee Member 3 Department

Educational Research and Administration

Committee Member 4

Dr. Georgianna Martin

Committee Member 4 Department

Educational Research and Administration

Abstract

Whereas body image satisfaction and cosmetic surgery acceptance has been widely studied over the last 30 years, these topics as they pertain to college students have not been examined extensively—most notably, the implications that diverse peer interactions have on students’ body image satisfaction and their acceptance of cosmetic surgery as a means of improving body image. Diverse peer interactions refer to interactions among peers of different racial and/or cultural backgrounds. For many college students, college provides the first opportunity whereby students may interact and engage to a great extent with students from racial and cultural backgrounds different from their own. The purpose of this study was to first investigate the extent to which diverse peer interactions occur among college students and then investigate if and how diverse peer interactions influence college students’ reported body image satisfaction and views on cosmetic surgery as a means of increasing body image satisfaction. Students from nine public, non-religious affiliated higher education institutions located in the American Southeast were asked to complete an online questionnaire consisting of Likert-scale questions regarding body image satisfaction, peer/friend group characteristics, and cosmetic surgery views in addition to questions regarding participants’ demographic characteristics (i.e. race, gender, etc.). The results revealed that African-American students were the least likely of all racial groups to engage in diverse peer interactions, regardless of the racial demographics of the institutions attended by students. In regard to body image satisfaction and cosmetic surgery acceptance, no significant differences were found among study participants, regardless of race, gender, or the racial demographics of institutions.

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