Muscle dysmorphia: a South African sample

Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2001 Oct;55(5):521-3. doi: 10.1046/j.1440-1819.2001.00899.x.


It has recently been suggested that muscle dysmorphia, a pathological preoccupation with muscularity, is a subtype of body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). There are, however, few studies of the phenomenology of this putative entity. Twenty-eight amateur competitive body builders in the Western Cape, South Africa, were studied using a structured diagnostic interview that incorporated demographic data, body-building activities and clinical questions focusing on muscle dysmorphia and BDD. There was a high rate of muscle dysmorphia in the sample (53.6%). Those with muscle dysmorphia were significantly more likely to have comorbid BDD based on preoccupations other than muscularity (33%). Use of the proposed diagnostic criteria for muscle dysmorphia indicated that this is a common and relevant entity. Its conceptualization as a subtype of BDD seems valid. The disorder deserves additional attention from both clinicians and researchers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychometrics
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Somatoform Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Somatoform Disorders / psychology
  • South Africa
  • Weight Lifting / psychology*