Cognitive and emotional factors associated with elective breast augmentation among young women

Stephanie E. Moser, Leona S. Aiken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The purpose of this research was to propose and evaluate a psychosocial model of young women's intentions to obtain breast implants and the preparatory steps taken towards having breast implant surgery. The model integrated anticipated regret, descriptive norms and image norms from the media into the theory of planned behaviour (TPB). Focus groups (n=58) informed development of measures of outcome expectancies, preparatory steps and normative influence. The model was tested and replicated among two samples of young women who had ever considered getting breast implants (n= 200, n=152). Intentions and preparatory steps served as outcomes. Model constructs and outcomes were initially assessed; outcomes were re-assessed 11 weeks later. Evaluative attitudes and anticipated regret predicted intentions; in turn, intentions, along with descriptive norms, predicted subsequent preparatory steps. Perceived risk (susceptibility, severity) of negative medical consequences of breast implants predicted anticipated regret, which predicted evaluative attitudes. Intentions and preparatory steps exhibited interplay over time. This research provides the first comprehensive model predicting intentions and preparatory steps towards breast augmentation surgery. It supports the addition of anticipated regret to the TPB and suggests mutual influence between intentions and preparatory steps towards a final behavioural outcome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-60
Number of pages20
JournalPsychology and Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011


  • Anticipated regret
  • Breast implants
  • Elective plastic surgery
  • Emotion and decision-making
  • Preparatory steps
  • Theory of planned behaviour

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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