• Advertising appeals emphasizing unrealistic body images are increasingly linked to depression, loss of self-esteem, and unhealthy eating habits. Understanding the motivation of young and vulnerable populations to undergo cosmetic procedures can help modify marketing and public policy practices. Using a multidisciplinary approach, this paper confirms the motivating role of self-concept discrepancy in young women seeking cosmetic procedures. It also reveals conflicting moderating influences of different types of social support on the relationship between self-discrepancy and choice of cosmetic procedures. Our findings show that family-based social support attenuates the effect of perceived actual-ideal self-discrepancy on the choice of cosmetic procedures, while social support from friends amplifies this effect. Actual-ought discrepancy appears to negatively affect the propensity for cosmetic procedures. Discussion of the findings and implications for public policy and marketing managers are presented.

Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.