Washington, May 30: Those who feel pressurised to look attractive are more scared than their peers of being rejected on the basis of their looks, according to a new study by researchers at the University at Buffalo and the University of Kent.
Dr. Lora Park, assistant professor of psychology of the University at Buffalo, conducted the study of appearance-based rejection sensitivity among college students.
The researchers found that overall women showed greater sensitivity to appearance rejection than did men, and it was particularly true of women who felt they needed to look attractive in order to be accepted by their peers.
The study also revealed that men and women, who had internalised media ideals of attractiveness, had higher levels of appearance-based rejection sensitivity than did their peers.
There was no relationship between parents' perceptions of attractiveness and study participants' increased sensitivity to appearance-based rejection.
Analysing their observations, the researchers came to the conclusion that peer and media influences, rather than parental influence, play a key role in appearance-based rejection sensitivity.
"There is a lot of research to suggest that physically attractive people are less stigmatized by others in this society, and have significant advantages in many areas of life than those who are viewed as physically unattractive," said Park.
She added: "Our study suggests that when people feel pressure to look attractive, whether from their friends or the media, they may be putting themselves at risk for experiencing negative outcomes that may limit their development and enjoyment of life in many ways."
In an earlier study, researchers found that appearance-based rejection sensitivity is related to negative mental and physical health outcomes, such as feeling unattractive, feeling badly about oneself when comparing one's appearance with others, feeling lonely and rejected when thinking about disliked aspects of one's appearance, and showing increased risk for eating disorders.
In this study, researchers made 220 (106 women, 114 men) US college students ranging from 18 to 33 years of age, respond to a series of questionnaires.
And the results were same even after controlling for people's self-esteem, self-perceived attractiveness and sensitivity to rejection in general.
The findings of the study were published in the spring edition of Psychology of Women Quarterly, a publication of the American Psychological Association.