This study investigated the role of ethnic identity in African-American women's relationship with their bodies and their decisions for cosmetic procedures. The research hypotheses are: (1) The odds of receiving a cosmetic procedure increase with lower endorsements of ethnic identity. (2) Ethnic identity has an effect on surveillance, shame, and body control in African-American Women. Ethnic identity will be measured with the Multiethnic Identity Measure (MEIM), which measures subjects' self-assessed membership in their ethnic group. Body Objectification is measured by the Objectified Body Consciousness scale, which measures a woman's endorsements of surveillance, shame, and control. The sample consisted of 175 African-American women between the ages of 19 and 84. The hypothesis resulted in no significant relationships. Thus H1 and H2 were not confirmed. However, when considering the MEIM in its two factors, 1) EI Achievement and 2) Affirmation and Belonging, the study found that there were significant relationships between EI Achievement and Control as well as between Affirmation and Belonging and levels of Control. These findings may indicate that, as African-American women solidify their ethnic identity (Achievement) and feel close to their group (Affirmation and Belonging), they experience more perceived control over their bodies. This makes African-American women who endorse higher on these measures more likely to feel as if they can alter their bodies to align with cultural standards, which may possibly lead to choosing cosmetic surgery.

LLU Discipline

Clinical Psychology




School of Behavioral Health

First Advisor

Jenkins, Louis

Second Advisor

Boyd, Kendal

Third Advisor

Herbozo, Sylvia

Fourth Advisor

Hyman, Ramona

Fifth Advisor

Lampkin, Andy

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded

January 2013

Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Surgery, Plastic -- psychology; Reconstructive Surgical Procedures -- psychology; Women -- surgery. Body Image -- psychology. African Americans -- psychology.

Subject - Local

Body objectification; African-American women



Page Count

90 p.

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

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.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses & Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives