Research Findings: Appearance Anxiety in Chinese female groups

Social appearance anxiety or appearance anxiety is a general fear of negative evaluation of one’s appearance. It is a general fear of negative evaluation, and perfectionism have each been proposed as risk factors for both social anxiety disorder and the eating disorders. 

Followed up by my previous research:, I have narrowed my audiences down to Chinese females. A more refined questionnaire were handed out and the responses are as followed:

What’s your age?
Are you satisfied with how you look? 48.1% gave 3(just okay). 3.8% are very satisfied.
Do you feel anxious with your appearance because of the outer pressure? 59.6% yes.
Where is your anxiety from?

Families: 19.2%. Friends: 30.8%. Partners: 19.2%. Strangers: 23.1%. Colleagues/Classmates: 23.1%. Internet/media/social media/TV/Films: 40.4%. Magazines/Newspapers/Posters/Books: 19.1%. Others:28.8%.

Which part of your body you are not satisfied with? (multiple choices)

Hair:15.4%. Eyes:25%. Nose:23.1%. Mouth:17.3%. Eyebrows/body hair:11.5%. Ears:1.9%. Facial structure: 34.6%. Skin: 26.9%. Weight: 44.2%. Body shape/figure: 44.2%. Height:21.2% Others: 9.6%. Nothing unsatisfied with: 1.9%.

Have you considered or having thoughts or have already done….? (multiple choices)

Diet/Losing weight: 44.2%. Skin/anti-aging clinics:42.3%. Plastic surgery: 15.4%. Working out: 63.5%. Make up: 32.7%. No I think I look good enough: 13.5%. Others:3.8%.

How often do you discuss your appearance with others
or question them about it?

Very often:0%. Never:9.6%. Quite often:11.5%. Sometimes: 40.4%. Often: 38.5%.

How often do you check your appearance (e.g. in mirrors,
or by taking photos of yourself)

Very often:19.2%. Never: 5.8%

How often would you avoid reflective surfaces, photos,
or videos of yourself?

Never: 15.4%. Very often: 5.8%.

Final question: How do you understand the phrase ‘Appearance anxiety’?

52 Participants took part in this questionnaire, most of them are 18-30 year-old females.

Two questions were extracted from Appearance Anxiety Inventory (AAI)

(The Appearance Anxiety Inventory is a 10 question self-report scale that measures the cognitive and behavioral aspects of body image anxiety in general, and body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) in particular. This scale is useful as part of a diagnostic procedure for BDD as well as symptom monitoring during treatment.)

Accessed from Novo Psych:

Other references:

Behavious include:

  • Overly rely on makeups
  • Beauty cams, filters and photoshop
  • Overly complicated skincare routine
  • Plastic surgery
  • Wearing oversized outfits – afraid of showing the figure
  • Eating disorders, influences from dieting culture
  • Unconfident in relationships
  • Too much self inspection

By browsing Chinese social media:

Typed in search: Appearance anxiety (外貌焦虑)on Xiaohongshu:

-Why everyone else look better than I do?

-Face straight to the DSLR : Learn to compromise with myself

-Appearance anxiety: Look at how beauty cams define beauty

-Appearance recognision

Above are the keywords/topics being mentioned the most.

To solve the problem/ To make the change happen:

  • No one is perfect/ Being imperfect is the fact to everyone, how can we face it?
  • What social impact I can make and where to start?
  • There should not and it is a false status to have only one standard of beauty, how can I show the diversity and in what way the diversity I can through?

Other References:

The pursuit of beauty: the enforcement of aesthetics or a freely adopted lifestyle? by Henri Wijsbek:

Writing to the self:The sixth section of the online lecture series “Self-Imaging: Identity, Disruption, Transformation” is curated by Joseph Imorde and Jörg Scheller. 女性外貌信心调查:中国第五

新氧: 新氧发布《2019中国女性自信报告》:超9成女性在意“美商”这件事


Bilibili: 关于外貌焦虑,你了解多少?

Blog Sohu: “外貌焦虑真的能毁掉一个人。”

Walden: Body Shaming: What Is It & Why Do We Do It?

Teens Health: Body Dysmorphic Disorder,looks%20many%20times%20a%20day.