Lora Park, assistant professor of psychology, graduate student Ann Marie DiRaddo of the University at Buffalo, and Rachel Calogero of the University of Kent in England said the study also finds men and women who had internalized media ideals of attractiveness had higher levels of appearance-based rejection sensitivity than did their peers.
The study, published in the Psychology of Women Quarterly, says no relationship was found between parents’ perceptions of attractiveness and study participants’ increased sensitivity to appearance-based rejection.
Therefore, peer and media influences, rather than parental influence, play a key role in appearance-based rejection sensitivity, the researchers say.
“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,” Park says in a statement.
The study observed 220 of U.S. college students ages 18-33 — 106 women and 114 men. The subjects completed a series of questionnaires, including scales that assessed the perceived influence of peers and parents on sensitivity to appearance-based rejection, and an assessment of dimensions of media influence related to body image and appearance.