Sex Roles

, Volume 71, Issue 9–10, pp 283–295 | Cite as

The Effect of Social Network Site Use on Appearance Investment and Desire for Cosmetic Surgery Among Adolescent Boys and Girls

  • Dian A. de Vries
  • Jochen Peter
  • Peter Nikken
  • Hanneke de Graaf
Original Article


Although adolescents frequently use social network sites, little is known about whether the highly visual and self-presentation-centered character of such sites affects body-related outcomes such as investment in appearance and appearance-changing strategies. Due to gender differences in appearance pressures and appearance ideals, these effects of social network sites on body-related outcomes may differ between boys and girls. The aim of the current study was therefore to investigate the relationships between social network site use, appearance investment, and desire for cosmetic surgery among adolescents and to compare the experiences of boys and girls. We used data from a two-wave panel study among 604 Dutch adolescents (aged 11–18). Structural equation modeling showed that social network site use positively predicted adolescents’ desire to undergo cosmetic surgery indirectly through increased appearance investment. The relationships found between social network site use, investment in appearance, and cosmetic surgery desire applied to boys and girls and were not moderated by gender.


Social network sites Gender Adolescents Body image Appearance pressures Appearance-changing strategies Cosmetic surgery Plastic surgery Objectification Social media 



The authors would like to thank the Fund for Scientific Research of Sexuality (FWOS) and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW), for providing funding for this research. We also thank Patti Valkenburg for her valuable comments on earlier versions of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dian A. de Vries
    • 1
  • Jochen Peter
    • 1
  • Peter Nikken
    • 2
  • Hanneke de Graaf
    • 3
  1. 1.Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)University of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.The Netherlands Youth InstituteUtrechtThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Rutgers WPFUtrechtThe Netherlands

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