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Studies say worry
over appearance leads to illness

Studies say worry
over appearance leads to illness

A trio of studies from a psychologist at the University of Buffalo reveals that worrisome anticipation of rejection based on your looks has a serious effect on your mental and physical wellbeing, according to a University of Buffalo press release.

Conducted by Lora Park, assistant professor in the department of psychology, the studies show that when motivation for looking attractive is mired in anxiety about being rejected, eating disorders, neurosis, and low self-esteem result.

In the first study, Park developed an appearance-based rejection sensitivity (ARS) scale to quantify how much people anxiously expected rejection based on their physical attractiveness. She tested it on 242 college students and found that those who scored high were likely to have low self-esteem and base their self-worth on their looks. They had high levels of neuroticism and insecure attachment habits and considered themselves physically unattractive.

"Both men and women who reported being sensitive to appearance-based rejection were preoccupied with their body and weight in unhealthy ways. They avoided eating when they were hungry, exercised compulsively, and engaged in binging and purging," said Park in the release.

In the second study, Park found that people with high ARS felt depressed just thinking about their appearance. "Simply having people list what they didn't like about their appearance, whether it was their weight, their height, having acne or some other facial or body feature, was sufficient for these people to feel lonely, rejected, unwanted, and isolated," said Park.

The third study provided some hope. When those with high ARS thought about their strengths or close relationships, they lost the negativity of self-appraisal.

"These findings," said Park, "emphasize the power of self-affirmation and of having close relationships in helping people cope with insecurities regarding their appearance." (The Advocate)

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