Prevalence of concern about physical appearance in the general population

British Journal Of Plastic Surgery, 54 (3): 223-226 Harris D.L., & Carr AT, (2001).

Abstract

Using information gathered in the introductory sections of the Derriford Appearance Scales (DAS24 and DAS59), the prevalence and epidemiological characteristics of concern about physical appearance have been determined for a carefully constructed sample of the general population of southwest Devon (rural and urban). In all, 2108 usable replies were received from a postal survey of a targeted population of 5400 men and women, aged 18 and over and randomly selected with constraints for age, sex acid socio-economic status. The prevalence of concern about physical appearance was highest among women through to age 60 and younger men. There was no association with socioeconomic status or living status. Concerns about the nose, weight and skin disorders were reported most frequently by both men and women and additionally concerns about breasts and abdomen were reported by women and premature balding by men. The mean DAS24 and DAS59 full-scale scores of 19% of male and 25% of female responders who were concerned about appearance exceeded the mean scores of preoperative patients undergoing reconstructive and cosmetic plastic surgery. Concern about appearance is widespread in the general population. More often than not, concern is about one feature only, which runs counter to the hypothesis that concern about appearance reflects a neurotic trait. The high levels of measured psychological distress and dysfunction found in a substantial minority of those in the general population who are concerned about appearance highlight the need for appropriate services.

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