Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Psy.D. Doctor of Clinical Psychology

Academic Discipline

Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Horvath

Second Advisor

Dr. Wasner


The purpose of this study was to understand women’s experiences of cosmetic surgery and its effects on body image on women from the Colombian cities of Bogotá and Pereira. The participants of this study were women of Colombian descent, who reside in Colombia. This was done with the hopes of better understanding how culture impacts views on cosmetic surgery. Colombia appears to have a culture that is very enmeshed with cosmetic surgery. This study provides an initial exploratory and qualitative investigation into the perception of body image as it relates to cosmetic surgery among six young women living in Colombia; this qualitative study hoped to provide rich accounts using interviews that allowed for more open answers from participants. Culture influences women to consider cosmetic surgery in similar but different ways. Beauty can have its advantages in society and can be used as a tool for economic advancement and access to other benefits. The idea of beauty and what is beautiful can differ in some ways, and with it, the cosmetic surgery procedures that are requested. What is considered beautiful and attractive in Colombia was discussed with the participants of this study.


Table of Contents

Introduction. 1

Purpose/Aims. 2

Literature Review.. 7

Definition of Body Image. 7

Body Image and Acquired Disability. 8

Body Image and EDs. 20

Body Image and Cosmetic Surgery. 23

Body Image and Cultural Variables. 28

Cosmetic Surgery Cultural Comparisons. 35

Questions to be Addressed. 43

Anticipated Findings of the Study. 44

Method. 48

Type of Study and Approach to Data Analysis. 48

Qualitative Methodology. 48

Interpretive Framework. 50

Participants. 50

Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria. 54

Procedures. 54

Advertisement Phase. 55

Results. 58

Introduction of Results. 58

Finding of Themes and Subthemes. 58

Beliefs, Opinions, and Perceptions. 59

Positive Opinions of Cosmetic Surgery. 60

Surgery Improves Self-Esteem.. 63

Cost Barriers to Cosmetic Surgery. 66

The Thin Ideal 69

Media Pressure/Influence. 74

Slippery Slope. 81

Self-Acceptance. 83

Discussion. 91

Interpretation of Findings. 91

Clinical Implications. 102

Limitations. 104

Recommendations for Future Research. 106

Conclusion. 108

References. 110

Appendix A: List of Articles That Support the Data but Were Not Referred to in the Paper Itself 119

Appendix B: Information to Post and Contact Method. 120

Appendix C: Interview Questions. 121

Appendix D: Interview Transcripts. 127

Appendix E: Table 1. 317