Gender-related differences in body dysmorphic disorder (dysmorphophobia)

J Nerv Ment Dis. 1997 Sep;185(9):578-82. doi: 10.1097/00005053-199709000-00007.


Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), which consists of pathological preoccupations with defects in different body parts, has been systematically studied only in the last decade. We hypothesized that gender would differentially influence the localization of the preoccupations as well as the extent and type of comorbidity with other psychiatric disorders. With the use of a specially constructed semistructured interview, we evaluated 58 consecutive outpatients with DSM-III-R BDD (women = 41.4%, men = 58.6%). Women had significantly more preoccupations with breast and legs, checking in the mirror and camouflaging, as well as lifetime comorbidity with panic, generalized anxiety, and bulimia. Men had significantly higher preoccupations with genitals, height, excessive body hair, as well as higher lifetime comorbidity with bipolar disorder. Although BDD is almost never found without comorbidity, it does appear to be an autonomous syndrome, and gender tends to influence the nature and extent of this comorbidity.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care
  • Bipolar Disorder / diagnosis
  • Bipolar Disorder / epidemiology
  • Body Image*
  • Comorbidity
  • Delusions / classification
  • Delusions / diagnosis
  • Delusions / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / statistics & numerical data
  • Sex Distribution
  • Sex Factors
  • Somatoform Disorders / classification
  • Somatoform Disorders / diagnosis
  • Somatoform Disorders / epidemiology*