Gender differences in body dysmorphic disorder

J Nerv Ment Dis. 1997 Sep;185(9):570-7. doi: 10.1097/00005053-199709000-00006.


Gender differences in body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) have received little investigation. This study assessed gender differences in 188 subjects with BDD who were evaluated with instruments to assess demographic characteristics, clinical features of BDD, treatment history, and comorbid Axis I disorders. Ninety-three (49%) subjects were women, and 95 (51%) were men. Men and women did not significantly differ in terms of most variables examined, including rates of major depression, although women were more likely to be preoccupied with their hips and their weight, pick their skin and camouflage with makeup, and have comorbid bulimia nervosa. Men were more likely to be preoccupied with body build, genitals, and hair thinning, use a hat for camouflage, be unmarried, and have alcohol abuse or dependence. Although men were as likely as women to seek nonpsychiatric medical and surgical treatment, women were more likely to receive such care. Men, however, were as likely as women to have cosmetic surgery. Although the clinical features of BDD appear remarkably similar in women and men, there are some differences, some of which reflect those found in the general population, suggesting that cultural norms and values may influence the content of BDD symptoms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholism / diagnosis
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology
  • Body Image*
  • Bulimia / diagnosis
  • Bulimia / epidemiology
  • Comorbidity
  • Culture
  • Delusions / diagnosis
  • Delusions / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Hair
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marital Status
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Distribution
  • Sex Factors
  • Somatoform Disorders / diagnosis
  • Somatoform Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Somatotypes
  • Surgery, Plastic