British women are more likely than Americans to have cosmetic surgery to please their husbands or partners, according to new research.
A study by academics at Aberdeen University found UK women were often motivated to go under the knife to appear more attractive to their other half. In the US women were more likely to have the surgery for themselves.
British women were also more inclined to keep their surgery a secret from family and friends and were often self-critical of their decision.
Forty British and 20 American women aged between 23 and 52 took part in the study.
In interviews with Debra Gimlin, a sociologist, they were asked about their motivation. While the Americans consistently claimed it was for themselves, nearly a quarter of the British women indicated they wanted to make themselves more appealing to a male partner.
"One British 39-year-old barmaid told me that her husband’s criticism of her figure prompted her to have abdomniplasty [a ‘tummy tuck’],’ Dr Gimlin said.
‘She said it wouldn’t have entered her mind otherwise, but after she’d had her second child her husband said: ‘I love the wee ones but I wish having them hadn’t ruined your figure’."
Dr Gimlin said other British women had surgery in the hope of cementing their relationship.
Dr Gimlin added: "A 42-year-old book-keeper explained she probably would not have had a breast enhancement if it hadn’t been for her partner.
"She said: ‘He’s not as much in love with me as I am with him. I wanted to do things that might make things right – I thought the surgery might help.’"
Dr Gimlin said the differences in British and American healthcare culture could be a reason for the women’s contrasting accounts.
"The privatised US system enshrines individual choices for those that can afford it, while the NHS ensures individual access," she explained.
"As such, healthcare in Britain is considered a social right rather than a consumer good or something to be ‘earned’."
She said many American women saw their surgery as an investment.
"One 50-year-old told me that while there were things her house needed she felt she needed a facelift more than it did,” Dr Gimlin said.