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Abstract

This pilot study compared the perceptions of beauty among Chinese women who were exchange students in the United States with Chinese women who were students in their homeland. We interviewed 19 women in China and 19 women in the United States to determine differences in responses. In accordance with the sociocultural approach and the social comparison approach, we expected Chinese women in the United States to have a be more acculturate, more frequently conclude that American women were more beautiful than Chinese women, be more likely than those studying in China to report body dissatisfaction, be more likely to dislike and desire to alter body parts that specifically reflect American beauty ideals, and express a greater desire to surgically alter their bodies. Results indicated that participants in the United States group were more likely to reflect some American beauty standards (particularly their desires to lose weight and to be taller), while maintaining those of their own culture (the importance of facial appearance), as well. Suggestions for future research and practice, particularly for mental health workers on college campuses with growing populations of Chinese exchange students, are discussed.