Predictors of Consideration of Labiaplasty: An Extension of the Tripartite Influence Model of Beauty Ideals

Gemma Sharp, Marika Tiggemann, Julie Mattiske

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Our study investigated predictors of consideration of labiaplasty (the surgical reduction of the labia) using a sociocultural framework. A sample of 351 heterosexual adult Australian women aged 18–69 years completed measures of media exposure, peer influence, relationship quality, internalisation of the genital ideal, genital appearance comparison, genital appearance dissatisfaction, and consideration of labiaplasty. Almost all predictor variables were significantly correlated with consideration of labiaplasty. A structural equation model based on the Tripartite Influence Model focused on beauty ideals showed a good level of fit to the data: The effects of media exposure and peer influence on genital appearance dissatisfaction and consideration of labiaplasty were mediated by internalisation of the genital ideal and genital appearance comparison. We concluded that media exposure, peer influence, and relationship quality influenced consideration of labiaplasty both directly and indirectly. The results contribute to a greater understanding of the sociocultural motivations behind labiaplasty and also demonstrate an important extension of the Tripartite Influence Model beyond the explanation of disordered eating behaviours to the consideration of a specific form of cosmetic surgery. The development of media literacy programmes may be beneficial in addressing genital appearance concerns in young girls.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-193
Number of pages12
JournalPsychology of Women Quarterly
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • body image
  • cosmetic surgery
  • female genitalia
  • interpersonal influences
  • labiaplasty
  • mass media
  • relationship quality

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