Sex differences in the presentation of body dysmorphic disorder in a community sample of adolescents

Sophie C. Schneider, Jonathan Mond, Cynthia M. Turner, Jennifer L. Hudson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


The current study sought to explore sex differences in the presentation of probable full-syndrome and subthreshold body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) in adolescents from an Australian community sample. Specifically, it examined sex differences in the types of BDD symptoms endorsed, body areas of concern, and the association with elevated symptoms of comorbid disorders. In male participants, it also compared the presenting features of those with and without muscle dysmorphia. Of 3,149 adolescents assessed using self-report questionnaires, 162 (5.1%) reported probable BDD (57.4% male, Mage = 14.89 years, SD = 1.33, primarily from Oceanian or European cultural backgrounds). All participants completed measures of BDD symptoms; past mental health service use; and symptoms of anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and eating disorders. Male participants completed additional measures of quality of life, drive for muscularity, hyperactivity, conduct disorder, peer problems, and emotional symptoms. Controlling for demographic variables that varied by sex, male and female participants reported similar BDD symptom severity, rates of most elevated comorbid symptoms, and mental health service use. Concerns regarding muscularity, breasts/nipples, and thighs differed by sex. Female participants were more likely than male participants to report elevated generalized anxiety symptoms. In male participants, muscle dysmorphia was not associated with greater severity across most measures. The presenting features of BDD were broadly similar in male and female participants, and in male participants with and without muscle dysmorphia. Future research should seek to increase mental health service use in adolescents with BDD and to improve rates of disorder detection in clinical settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)516-528
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
Issue number3
Early online date21 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2019


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