Subthreshold body dysmorphic disorder in adolescents: prevalence and impact

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 aim of the current study was to establish the prevalence of subthreshold body dysmorphic disorder (subthreshold-BDD) in a community sample of adolescents, and to compare disorder correlates in individuals with subthreshold-BDD to those with probable full-syndrome BDD (probable-BDD) and those without BDD (non-BDD). Self-report questionnaires assessing DSM-IV BDD criteria, past mental health service use, and symptoms of body dysmorphic disorder, anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and eating disorders, were completed by 3149 Australian high school students (mean age =14.6 years, 63.5% male). Male participants also completed measures assessing quality of life, muscularity concerns, emotional symptoms, conduct problems, hyperactivity, and peer problems. The prevalence of subthreshold-BDD was 3.4%, and probable-BDD was 1.7%. Compared to the non-BDD group, subthreshold-BDD was associated with elevated symptoms of comorbid psychopathology and greater past mental health service use, and in male-only measures, with poorer quality of life and elevated muscularity concerns. Subthreshold-BDD participants reported significantly lower mental health service use, and fewer symptoms of depression, eating disorders, and hyperactivity than probable-BDD participants, however, other comorbid symptoms did not differ significantly between these groups. These findings indicate that subthreshold-BDD is associated with substantial difficulties for adolescents in the general community. BDD screening should include subthreshold presentations, as these may be an important target for early intervention programs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-130
Number of pages6
JournalPsychiatry Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017


  • Adolescent
  • Body dysmorphic disorder
  • Comorbidity
  • Prevalence
  • Subthreshold psychopathology


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