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.
1 Butler Hospital, Providence, Rhode Island, and the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Brown University School of Medicine.
Send reprint requests to Dr. Phillips, Butler Hospital, 345 Blackstone Boulevard, Providence, Rhode Island 02906.
Supported by a NARSAD (National Alliance on Research for Schizophrenia and Depression) Young Investigator Award, an unrestricted grant from Solvay Pharmaceuticals and Pharmacia and Upjohn, and an NIMH R-29 Award (to Dr. Phillips).
The authors thank Susan L. McElroy and Katherine D. Atala for conducting some of the study assessments.
Presented in part at a New Research Session at the 148th annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association, Miami, Florida, May 20 to 25, 1995.