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Tags: age | concealment | deaging
OPINION

Looking Younger? Beauty May Be in Mindset of the Beholder

Looking Younger?  Beauty May Be in Mindset of the Beholder

(Volodymyr Melnyk/Dreamstime.com)

Wendy L. Patrick By Saturday, 20 April 2024 08:12 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

No matter how many years young you are, there are a wide variety of ways to improve your looks at any age, and many reasons to undertake the effort.

Whether you are in search of a new job or a new partner, or just seeking to boost your self-esteem, your perceived motivation can predict how others react to your efforts.

Research explains:

"De-Aging" Dynamics

Julie Ober Allen et al. (2024) in "How Old Do I Look?" examined the experience of aging within an over-50 population in the United States.

They began by acknowledging that personal appearance reveals both age and stage in life, both of which activate social stereotypes and prejudice.

They note that for older adults, appearance-related perceptions and related behaviors can impact the experience of aging, which in turn may influence health.

Allen et al. (ibid.) found, among other things, that most adults in their study (59%) reported believing they appeared relatively younger than their peers, 35% reported they appeared the same age, and only 6% believed they appeared older.

Approximately one-third of their participants reported investing in cultivating a more youthful appearance.

Regarding self-perception and experiencing aging, Allen et al. (supra) found that participants who appeared relatively younger reported more positive and less negative experiences of aging, while appearing older showed the opposite effect.

Additionally, they found that investing in looking younger was linked with both more positive and more negative experiences of aging, with very little sociodemographic variation.

Regarding the impact on health, Allen et al. (supra) found that more positive and less negative experiences of aging were linked with enhanced mental and physical health.

Chasing Youth? Motives Matter

Michael Jeanne Childs and Alex Jones (2023) investigated the aging experience from an outsider’s perspective, examining how others view people who engage in "age concealment."

Studying a sample of 306 participants, they expanded existing research that found people are viewed differently based on what type of concealment used, underlying motivation, and age.

They added perceiver factors such as age, gender, and intrasexual competition, using middle-aged women as targets because they are the highest consumers of cosmetic treatments.

Childs and Jones (ibid.) also found that the higher females scored in intrasexual competition, the less positive ratings they delivered.

They also found that women evaluated targets most positively when age concealment was motivated by concerns with self-esteem and employment, in that order, and evaluated least positively when it was motivated by romance.

Men, in contrast, did not arrive at different evaluations based on motivation.

Childs and Jones concluded that in general, middle-aged women who try to recapture their youth are viewed negatively by other women who are highly competitive, especially when seeking to look younger is done to attract partners, rather than to find work, or to boost self-esteem.

Their findings suggest it is not the treatment selected, but the psychological response by others that impacts how engaging in appearance-alteration is viewed.

Inner Beauty Shines Brightest

As a practical matter, there are a myriad of ways people seek to look younger, from surgery to diet and nutrition.

Yet the most attractive qualities shine from the inside. Kindness, compassion, humility, love, and respect draw others like moths to a flame, demonstrating that the best things in life are free.

(Editor's Note: The preceding article was published in Psychology Today and is used with the permisison of its author.) 

Wendy L. Patrick, JD, MDiv, Ph.D., is an award-winning career trial attorney and media commentator. She is host of "Live with Dr. Wendy" on KCBQ, and a daily guest on other media outlets, delivering a lively mix of flash, substance, and style. Read Dr. Wendy L. Patrick's Reports — More Here.

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WendyLPatrick
As a practical matter, there are a myriad of ways people seek to look younger, from surgery to diet and nutrition. Yet the most attractive qualities shine from the inside. Kindness, compassion, humility, love, and respect draw others like moths to a flame.
age, concealment, deaging
609
2024-12-20
Saturday, 20 April 2024 08:12 AM
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