Trends in cosmetic surgery are an ever-popular topic of discussion; however, little psychological or empirical research has been devoted to understanding specific psychological factors for ethnic minorities. African American women have historically fallen outside of Euro-centric beauty norms and have been subjected to objectification in media and interpersonal interactions. First, this study investigated the differences between African American women and Caucasian women on three dimensions of body objectification. Body objectification was assessed through three subscales of the Objectified Consciousness Scale: 1) body surveillance, 2) Shame about appearance, and 3) a women's assessment of control of her personal appearance. African American women were expected to exhibit higher scores on Control and lower scores on Shame and Surveillance than Caucasian women. Secondly, objectification scores were expected to differ among two self-selected cosmetic conditions and the Body Control. Cosmetic surgery was broken into three mutually exclusive groups: 1) women who received an invasive cosmetic procedure, 2) minimally invasive cosmetic procedure, or 3) no procedure control group. Women are hypothesized to endorse higher scores on Control, Surveillance, and Shame if they had undergone an invasive cosmetic procedure rather than women who elected for noninvasive procedures. Both invasive and noninvasive cosmetic groups were thought to score higher than the control group. Lastly, this study explored the possible differences between African American and Caucasian women and their choices in body enhancement procedures in predicting body objectification. Body mass index and income were held constant. Women were sampled from cosmetic surgeons' offices, hair salons, local gyms, and a local women's meeting and administered the Objectified Body scale. Forty-one African American women and 23 Caucasian women were recruited. None of the hypothesis were supported in this study; however, when the surgery variable was dichotomized, those who had surgery and those who did not, two of the three hypothesis were supported. Hypothesis one was supported, with African American women experiencing higher Body Control than Caucasian women. Hypothesis two was also supported. Women who had any cosmetic procedure endorsed higher Surveillance than women who had no procedure.
School of Science and Technology
Master of Arts (MA)
Year Degree Awarded
Date (Title Page)
Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings
Cosmetic Techniques; Surgery, Plastic; African American women; Objectification
Subject - Local
Body objectification, Cosmetic surgery
Loma Linda University Libraries
This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.
Powell-Hicks, Allycin, "Body Objectification and Elective Cosmetic Procedures in African American Women" (2011). Loma Linda University Electronic Theses, Dissertations & Projects. 56.
Loma Linda University Electronic Theses & Dissertations
Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives