Volume 11, Issue 1 p. 16-23

Prevalence of body dysmorphic disorder symptoms and associated clinical features among Australian university students

Dianna Bartsch

Corresponding Author

Dianna Bartsch

School of Psychology, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, 5001, Australia

School of Psychology, University of South Australia, Adelaide, SA, 5001, Australia, [email protected]Search for more papers by this author
First published: 25 January 2011
Citations: 57


The current study addressed the frequency of body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) symptoms among university students and investigated the predictors of dysmorphic concern. Six hundred and nineteen Australian university students completed measures assessing BDD, dysmorphic concern, self-esteem, depression, life satisfaction, self-oriented and socially prescribed perfectionism. Approximately two thirds of the sample were concerned about an aspect of their appearance, with one third of these individuals preoccupied by this concern. Fourteen participants (2.3%) appeared to meet the criteria for BDD. Multiple regression analysis showed that dysmorphic concern was predicted by self-esteem, depression, self-oriented perfectionism, socially prescribed perfectionism and gender. Female subjects demonstrated significantly greater dysmorphic concern than male subjects. Furthermore, dysmorphic concern was lower among students of Asian background. This study suggests that appearance concerns are common among Australian university students, with approximately 1 in 50 fulfilling the criteria for a probable diagnosis of BDD.