The prevalence of body dysmorphic disorder:
a population-based survey
WINFRIED RIEF1, 2*, ULRIKE BUHLMANN3, SABINE WILHELM3,
AND ELMAR BRA¨HLER4
1Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA;2University of Marburg,
Marburg, Germany;3Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA;
4University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
Background. Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a highly distressing and impairing disorder
characterized by a preoccupation with imagined or slight physical defects in appearance. Well
designed studies on its prevalence and on base rates for diagnostic criteria are rare. Therefore this
study aimed to reveal prevalence rates of BDD in the general population and to examine clinical
features associated with BDD.
Method. Of 4152 selected participants 2552, aged 14–99 years, participated in this German
nationwide survey. Participants were carefully selected to ensure that the sample was represen-
tative; they were visited by a study assistant who provided instructions and help if needed.
Participation rate was 62.3%. DSM-IV criteria for BDD, as well as subthreshold features (e.g.
individuals who consider some part(s) of their body as ugly or disfigured, but do not fulfill all BDD
criteria) were examined. We also assessed suicidal ideation associated with the belief of having an
ugly body part, as well as the desire for cosmetic surgery. Furthermore, somatization symptoms
Results. The prevalence of current BDD was 1.7% (CI 1.2–2.1%). Individuals with BDD reported
higher rates of suicidal ideation (19% v. 3%) and suicide attempts due to appearance concerns
(7% v. 1%) than individuals who did not meet criteria for BDD. Somatization scores were also
increased in individuals with BDD, relative to those without. BDD was associated with lower
financial income, lower rates of living with a partner, and higher rates of unemployment.
Conclusions. Our study shows that self-reported BDD is relatively common and associated with
tressing and impairing disorder characterized by
a preoccupation with imagined or slight physi-
cal defects in appearance (e.g. shape or size of
nose). Individuals with BDD often think about
their perceived defect for many hours per day,
and they frequently engage in time-consuming
repetitive behaviors such as comparing, mirror-
checking, camouflaging, excessive grooming or
1993).Avoidanceofeveryday activities maylead
to substantial social isolation, including being
housebound for years (Phillips et al. 1993).
Phillips & Diaz (1997) assessed the focus of
concern for 188 patients with BDD. The most
frequently affected body parts were: skin
(65%), hair (55%), nose (39%), eyes (19%),
legs (18%), and breasts for women or pectoral
(2003) assessed the prevalence and symptoms
* Address for correspondence: Professor Dr. Winfried Rief,
Department of Clinical Psychology, University of Marburg,
Gutenbergstrasse 18, 35032 Marburg, Germany.
Psychological Medicine, 2006, 36, 877–885.
f 2006 Cambridge University Press
First published online 6 March 2006Printed in the United Kingdom
of BDD in Turkish female college students
(n=420). They reported that hips and various
parts of the head were the most frequent focus
of imagined defects.Grant andcolleagues (2001)
assessed BDD in psychiatric in-patients and
confirmed that the nose, hair, skin, and lips were
the body parts most frequently associated with
imagined flaws. However, all of the data men-
tioned above were from selected samples and
may differ from data representing the general
Research on the prevalence of BDD has been
rare. In female college students, prevalence rates
of BDD were estimated at about 5% (Bohne
et al. 2002; Cansever et al. 2003). Otto and col-
leagues (2001) reanalyzed a subsample of data
selected from a larger sample of women between
ages of 36 and 44, including 658 non-depressed
and 318 depressed women. For this group, they
found a prevalence rate for BDD of 0.7%.
Faravelli and colleagues (1997) reported data
from 637 subjects from the general population
of Tuscany (Italy) and found a BDD prevalence
rate of 0.7% (i.e. five cases within their sample).
In a study of Bienvenu et al. (2000), a com-
munity control sample of 73 subjects showed
BDD prevalence rates of 3%, while two of 300
first-degree relatives (1%) of these control per-
sons had lifetime BDD.
Robust epidemiological data on BDD are
required to evaluate the usefulness of existing
diagnostic classification criteria as well as treat-
ment needs. Moreover, additional studies on the
prevalence of BDD might raise awareness about
this often secretive and underdiagnosed dis-
order. Although suffering from BDD, patients
present only rarely with these complaints in
general practice. Indeed, DeWaal et al. (2004)
did not find any individuals with BDD in more
than 1000 consecutive patients of general prac-
titioners diagnosed by structured interviews.
Grant et al. (2001) reported that although 13%
of psychiatric inpatients had BDD, all of these
patients reported that they would not reveal the
disorder to their physician unless specifically
asked. This was true even for the patients who
considered BDD to be their primary concern.
Several studies report increased suicidality
rates in individuals with BDD. In the psychiatric
in-patient sample described by Grant et al.
(2001), one-third reported suicide attempts.
Phillips & Diaz (1997) found that 23% of their
out-patients with BDD had a history of suicide
attempts, a rate that was confirmed for British
out-patients (Veale et al. 1996). This underlines
the extreme suffering that is associated with
BDD. Many individuals with BDD seek surgery
to change their appearance. In the study by
Phillips and Diaz, 29% of patients with BDD
sought or received surgical treatment while 45%
sought dermatological treatment. Of these cases,
the response to these forms of non-psychiatric
treatments was generally poor. Altamura et al.
(2001) demonstrated that more than 6% of
patients in hospital centers for esthetical medi-
cine had BDD, while about 18% reported sub-
threshold BDD symptoms. About one-fifth of
patients requesting rhinoplasty had a possible
diagnosis of BDD (Veale et al. 2003). In Turkish
patients presenting with mild acne to a derma-
tologist, 9% were diagnosed with BDD (Uzun
et al. 2003). Thus the prevalence of BDD is
substantial in patients seeking surgical or
dermatological interventions, despite the in-
effectiveness of non-psychiatric interventions.
BDD is often co-morbid with other mental
disorders. This has been described for psychi-
atric inpatients in general (Grant et al. 2001), for
patients with depressive disorders (Phillips et al.
1996; Nierenberg et al. 2002), and patients with
anxiety disorders (Wilhelm et al. 1997). There is
also a substantial co-occurrence between BDD
and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) (e.g.
Brawman-Mintzer et al. 1995; Simeon et al.
1995; Bienvenu et al. 2000), as well as with
social phobia (Brawman-Mintzer et al. 1995),
although the Brawman-Mintzer study reported
the lowest BDD rates of all cited studies. Thus
patients with BDD have increased rates of co-
morbid psychiatric disorders and, conversely,
patients with other mental disorders have in-
creased rates of BDD. Despite the association of
BDD with OCD or social phobia, DSM-IV
(APA, 1994) and ICD-10 (WHO, 1993) do not
classify BDD under anxiety disorders but rather
under the category of somatoform disorders.
Little is currently known about similarities and
differences between BDD and other somato-
The aims of this study were, first, to present
the first study to our knowledge which reports
prevalence rates for BDD in a large, represen-
tative, nationwide community sample. We ex-
pected higher rates for women than men, as
878 W. Rief et al.
body concerns seem to be more frequent in the
female population. Associated features of the
disorder, such as suicidality or seeking surgery,
were also assessed. Secondly, we intended to
define base rates for body parts with which in-
dividuals are dissatisfied. Thirdly, we aimed to
obtain more empirical data on classification
criteria for BDD by examining base rates for the
individual BDD criteria. Finally, we wanted to
analyze the overlap between BDD with soma-
toform symptoms, since BDD is categorized as a
subgroup of somatoform disorders in DSM-IV.
SUBJECTS AND METHOD
The final sample consisted of 2552 subjects
(52.74% of whom were female). The age range
was from 14 to 99 years (mean=47.6, S.D.=
were living with a partner (including those being
married and living with their partner), 51%
had more than a standard education (e.g. high-
school degree or equivalent), 7% were un-
employed, and 29.6% were retired. Sixty-five
percent of the sample was living in households
earning less than 2000 Euros per month.
To obtain a representative sample, an inde-
pendent agency (USUMA, Berlin) divided
Germany into 258 sample point regions (the
definition of sample points was derived from
representative data from the last federal elec-
tions). To select a subject for inclusion, the first
step was the selection of one of the sample point
regions by chance. Then, following a random
route procedure, an address was selected.
Finally, one of the household members at this
address was selected by chance (‘Sweden pro-
cedure’) and attempts were made to contact this
person. Only subjects above 13 years of age were
included in the selection process. Data collec-
tion took place between September and October
2004. We initially attempted to contact 4156
subjects. Reasons for drop out were: three con-
secutive unsuccessful attempts to reach anyone
in the selected household (9%), three consecu-
tive unsuccessful attempts to reach the target
person (3.6%), the household rejected partici-
pation (14%), the target person rejected par-
ticipation (9.4%). Participation rate of the
primarily selected sample was 62.3%. As some
interviews were unsuitable (n=39; people did
not understand instructions; most items show
missing values), the final sample consisted of
2552 participants. This sample still has the
typical characteristics of the German popu-
lation in terms of age and sex (compared with
the overall data for the 70779 million people
in Germany older than 13 years; see www.
(Germany: 49%); 21.5% of the sample being
older than 65 years (Germany: 20%); and 12%
being in the age range 14-24 years (Germany:
All participants were visited face-to-face, in-
formed by a research assistant about the study
procedures and signed an informed consent
sheet (if the participants were minors, informed
consent was also obtained from the parents).
They were instructed that several psychological
rating scales would follow, without informing
the subjects about the special focus on body
dysmorphic symptoms. Thereafter, participants
completed the following self-rating scales:
(a) a demographic information sheet;
(b) a questionnaire assessing DSM-criteria for
current BDD (four items; see Table 1 on
(c) a questionnaire assessing clinical character-
istics related to BDD symptoms, such as
body sites of preoccupation (hair, skin,
nose, mouth, eyes, ears, breast/chest, geni-
tals, hands, and other body parts to be
named by the participants), and suicidality
due to BDD symptoms;
(d) the Screening for Somatoform Symptoms,
The SOMS-7 has been shown to be sensitive
and specific for the assessment of somatoform
symptoms. Base rates of these symptoms have
been published elsewhere (Rief et al. 2001). In its
state version, the SOMS-7 asks for the existence
of 53 typical somatoform symptoms during
the last 7 days, including abdominal pain,
headache, back pain, food intolerance, or chest
pain. These 53 symptoms cover all complaints
mentioned in the DSM-IV somatization dis-
order, the ICD-10 somatization disorder, and
the ICD-10 somatoform autonomic dysfunc-
tion. The intensity of symptoms is Likert-scaled
from 1 (not at all) to 5 (very strongly). Two
Prevalence of body dysmorphic disorder 879
composed indices are computed: the symptom
count (number of agreed symptoms in total) and
the symptom severity (mean score of all re-
sponses). The severity index of the SOMS-7
correlates with the number of somatoform
symptoms as assessed by structured interviews
to r=0.70 (Rief & Hiller, 2003). The median in
the general population is four somatoform
symptoms during the last 7 days; the mean is 6.6
Twenty-seven percent of males and 41% of
females reported being preoccupied with the
Approximately 10% of males versus 15.6% of
females reported being at least moderately dis-
satisfied with their appearance (overall x2=61.4,
p<0.001). This result indicates more body dis-
satisfaction in women than in men. Further-
more, the body parts of concern differ somewhat
between men and women. While women were
most frequently dissatisfied with their breasts,
hair, skin, stomach, and nose, men were mainly
presents data of the general population for body
parts rated as especially unattractive.
Table 3 presents base rates for the criteria to
classify BDD according to DSM-IV. Again, we
found higher rates for women than for men.
About 10% of the general population was pre-
occupied with having one or more disfiguring
body part, despite acknowledging that the
perception of these flaws was not held by
other people such as friends. However, when the
other DSM criteria were also considered, the
prevalence rate for current BDD was 1.7%
[95% confidence interval (CI) 1.2–2.1%], with
slightly higher rates for women (1.4% for men,
1.9% for women). Due to the small sample
size of individuals meeting all criteria, gender
differences were no longer significant. More-
over, to exclude individuals with possible eating
disorders, we assessed whether bodyweight was
the major reason for body dissatisfaction. This
exclusion criterion was met by half of the
women who perceived one or more of their body
parts as ugly or disfigured but only by one-third
of the men. The base rate of BDD showed a
trend to higher prevalence rates in adolescents
(age <21 years; 2.3%), although the low figures
(n=4) do not allow further interpretation.
As expected, the rate of participants who
underwent cosmetic surgery was higher in the
Table 1. Definition of body dysmorphic disorder
DSM-IV inclusion rules
Description of DSM-IV
criteria (DSM-IV TR)Item
Agreement to DSM-IV
Preoccupation with an imagined defect in appearance.
If a slight physical anomaly is present, the person’s
concern is markedly excessive.
Are you preoccupied with an imagined or slight
physical defect in your appearance, although other
people do not share your opinion or believe
your concern to be markedly exaggerated?
If yes, is this preoccupation about a physical defect
very distressing to you?
Do the worries about your physical defect cause
significant impairment in your everyday life
(e.g. in your occupational or social life)?
Is your bodyweight the primary cause of your
Either agreement to DSM-IV
criterion B1 …
… or agreement to DSM
The preoccupation causes clinically
significant distress …
… or impairment in social, occupational,
or other important areas of functioning.
Disagreement to DSM-IV
The preoccupation is not better accounted for
by another mental disorder (e.g. dissatisfaction
with body shape and size in anorexia nervosa)
especially unattractive in the German general
Prevalence of body parts rated as
Body part of
* p<0.05, ** p<0.01, *** p<0.001.
880 W. Rief et al.
BDD group than in the non-BDD group
(Table 4). Moreover, nearly one-fifth of the
BDD group confirmed having suicidal thoughts
because of appearance concerns while 7% had a
history of suicidal attempts because of appear-
ance concerns. However, the base rate of suici-
dal attempts due to appearance concerns in the
non-BDD group was 1%.
There was no significant difference between
the BDD group and the non-BDD group with
respect to age (see Table 4). Participants with
BDD seemed to be more frequently divorced,
while the base rate for being married was higher
in the non-BDD group than in the BDD group.
The mean household income was lower and the
rate of unemployment was higher in the BDD
group than it was in the non-BDD group (see
Participants with BDD differed from the
somatoform symptoms they reported. Individ-
uals with BDD noted nearly twice as many
symptoms as other participants and showed
increased somatization indices. Substantially
higher rates in BDD were reported for the fol-
only differences with p<0.005 are reported; this
still allows the detection of medium effect sizes
d>0.4): headache, abdominal pain, pain in
extremities, nausea, discomfort in the chest
and abdomenal area, loss of appetite, frequent
urination, palpitation, fatigue, loss of libido,
impaired balance, weakness, as well as pseudo-
neurological symptoms. The mean number of
somatoform symptoms during the past 7 days
was 11.2 in the BDD group; this corresponds
to a percentage rank of 82% of the general
population reporting fewer somatic symptoms.
The number of bodily complaints was also
associated with the different diagnostic criteria
for BDD: subjects fulfilling only criteria A (pre-
occupation with physical appearance) reported
a mean number of 10.7 (S.D. 9.5) somatic symp-
toms, while subjects fulfilling criteria A and B
(additional distress or impairment) reported
12.5 (S.D. 10.6) somatic complaints. Subjects
with bodily preoccupation differed significantly
in the number of reported symptoms, depending
on whether or not they fulfilled criterion B
(t=2.3, df=246, p<0.05).
This study reports for the first time nationwide
base rates representative of the general popu-
lation. Previous studies reported prevalence
rates between 0.7% (e.g. Otto et al. 2001) and
5% (Bohne et al. 2002). However, all studies
with fewer than 1000 participants aiming to
assess a feature with a base rate of less than 5%
are at risk of being underpowered. Using the
DSM-IV-based definition of BDD as described
above and analyzing a large sample, we found
prevalence rates of 1.7% with a 95% CI of
1.2–2.1%. The studies reporting higher rates
typically examined groups where higher base
rates can be expected (e.g. female college
students) and/or used self-rating scales that
might be associated with less restrictive case
definitions than our approach. The Italian study
of Faravelli et al. (1997) used structured inter-
view techniques. However, they examined a
Table 3.Base rates for DSM-IV criteria for body dysmorphic disorder (point prevalence)
A. Are you preoccupied with an imagined or slight physical defect in your appearance, although
other people do not share your opinion or believe your concern to be markedly exaggerated?
B1. If yes, is this very distressing to you? (ref. to total n=248)
B2. Does this cause significant impairment in your everyday life (e.g. in your occupational or
social life)? (ref. to total n=248)
Criteria A and B fulfilled (ref. to total n=2552)
C. Primary appearance concern weight-related (total n=248)
All criteria (A, B, C) for BDD met (excluding individuals with primary weight concerns)
Overall prevalence of BDD 1.7% (n=42)
BDD, Body dysmorphic disorder.
* p<0.05, *** p<0.001.
Prevalence of body dysmorphic disorder 881
sample of 673 subjects, which is too small to
reveal stable prevalence rates for less common
disorders. A methodologically sophisticated
study made by Otto et al. (2001), using struc-
tured clinical interviews, analyzed the data of
658 non-depressed women between the ages of
36 and 44 as well as 318 depressed women of the
same age range. Both groups were selected from
the Boston metropolitan area. As this sample
represented only one city, the authors computed
overall prevalence estimates using comparison
data from the national co-morbidity survey.
However, it is important to acknowledge that
this estimated prevalence rate of 0.7% for
BDD was based on two participants in the non-
depressed group and six participants in the
Our survey confirmed that many people
have concerns about unattractive body parts,
although only a few of them fulfill the criteria
for BDD. In the general population, women
tended to be concerned about their hair, skin,
and breasts, while men focused on their hair,
nose, and ears. Although women frequently
showed higher base rates for body parts they
dislike, men had specifically increased rates
for ears (4.7% v. 2.2%) and genitals (1.7% v.
0.4%). From the subsample fulfilling the criteria
for BDD, the most frequently disliked body
parts were again skin, breasts/chest, and hair.
Comparing these data with clinical samples,
patients in clinical samples more frequently
report multiple body parts of concern. For
example, Phillips & Diaz (1997) reported fre-
quencies of up to 71% (skin, women), and,
similar to our results, noted that skin and hair
were the most frequent body parts of concern.
Our data also confirmed that BDD is aserious
disorder, frequently accompanied by suicidal
ideation or even suicide attempts. However, in
clinical samples with BDD, the suicidality rate is
typically higher than in our epidemiological
Table 4. Associated features of individuals with and without body dysmorphic disorder
Statistics (x2if not
Gender (% females)
Marital status (%)
Mean income of household below 1250 Euros (%)
Focus of appearance concern (%)
Primary concern weight-related
Plastic surgery (%)
Underwent cosmetic surgery7.22.8 31.2***
Thought about killing oneself due to appearance concerns
Suicide attempts due to appearance concerns
Somatoform symptom count
Somatization intensity index
* p<0.05, ** p<0.01, *** p<0.001,+p=0.6.
882W. Rief et al.
sample. Increased suicide rates have also been
found in psychiatric patients with co-morbid
BDD (Grant et al. 2001) compared with other
psychiatric patients. This result is the more im-
portant as the authors did not assess suicidality
in general, but completed suicide. Veale et al.
(1996) reported suicide attempt rates of 24%
in BDD patients, which has been confirmed
in other studies (Phillips & Diaz, 1997). As ex-
pected, our BDD participants also underwent
cosmetic surgery more frequently than individ-
uals in the general population, although the
base rates for these data were low and should be
interpreted with caution. Finally, our partici-
pants with BDD reported lower income, lower
rates of having a partner, and higher un-
employment rates than participants without
BDD. A similar socioeconomic and demo-
graphic pattern has also been described for
patients with other psychiatric disorders, e.g.
depression or panic (Rief et al. 2004).
A major goal of this study was to establish
base rates for the DSM criteria and to stimulate
discussion on how to classify individuals with
BDD. Currently, BDD is classified as a soma-
for this grouping is weak. Gunstad & Phillips
(2003) report only slightly increased rates for
somatoform disorders in individuals with BDD
seeking medical treatment, while Altamura et al.
(2001) found 50% co-morbidity of BDD with
somatoform disorders. In our study, we con-
firmed increased rates of somatoform symptoms
in individuals with BDD. Nevertheless, soma-
toform symptoms are a typical co-morbid
problem in most psychiatric disorders, such as
depression and panic disorder (Rief et al. 1996).
Co-morbidity with somatoform
seems to be highly correlated with the severity
of disorders. Thus, the association of BDD
and somatoform symptoms confirms our case
definition of BDD but should not be over-
interpreted. On the other hand, the literature
on similarities between OCD and BDD, as well
as increased rates of OCD-related disorders in
BDD, is overwhelming (e.g Brawman-Mintzer
et al. 1995; Veale et al. 1996; Bienvenu et al.
2000; Altamura et al. 2001). Indeed, OCD
samples also exhibit increased rates for BDD
(Simeon et al. 1995). As the base rate for OCD
is much lower than the base rates for single
somatoform symptoms, an overlap with OCD
indicates a more compelling result than an
overlap with somatoform symptoms.
A prevalence rate for BDD of 1.7%, as found
in this study, is substantial and helps to estimate
the treatment needs for these individuals. As
most of these individuals feel disabled and many
suffer from suicidal ideation, health care pro-
viders should screen for BDD symptoms more
frequently and treatment should be provided
more systematically. Recently, researchers have
begun to examine pharmacological and psycho-
logical treatments for BDD (Rosen et al. 1995;
Hollander et al. 1999; Wilhelm et al. 1999;
Phillips et al. 2002). The treatments should be
offered more widely, and their availability
should be brought to the attention of the general
To date, there is no clear evidence to deter-
mine which definition of BDD is the best. Our
selection of classification rules were very close to
the DSM-IV criteria, seem to face validity chal-
lenges, and therefore carry the strength and
limitations of the DSM-IV criteria. However,
the DSM criteria do not reflect empirically
validated, naturally occurring, and distinct pro-
totypes, but define sometimes arbitrary di-
chotomies (Kendler & Gardner, 1998). As our
case definition requested some insight that the
perceived physical defect is imagined, our base
rates might underestimate the prevalence, as
many patients with BDD and poor insight
are not classified. This would be in line with
an underestimation of morbidity (suicidality,
somatization, etc.), as BDD patients with poor
insight or delusional subtype have increased
morbidity rates. This fact could also explain in
part why some subjects of the non-BDD group
report cosmetic surgery (2.8%), suicidal idea-
tion or suicide attempts because of concerns
about the physical appearance (see Table 4);
while the rates for these features are substan-
tially higher in the BDD group, these features
are still prevalent in the non-BDD group.
Moreover, we used self-rating scales, while
structured interviews are still considered to be
the gold standard of classification for psychi-
atric problems. On the other hand, individuals
with BDD tend to be very ashamed of their
Therefore, in the case of BDD, it is possible that
some individuals might be more comfortable
acknowledging their symptoms in self-rating
Prevalence of body dysmorphic disorder883
scales than in a personal interview. In fact, de-
spite using a structured interview for more
than 1000 GP office attendees, the study of
DeWaal and others (2004) focusing on somato-
form disorders did not find any individual with
BDD. This is most likely an underestimation of
the rate of BDD and may point to a problem
with using standardized interview techniques
for the identification of BDD. Computer-
assisted assessment strategies might also be an
option, with less hesitation in reporting these
symptoms. Therefore the question of which
methods best classify individuals with BDD
needs to be further investigated.
Another shortcoming of this study is the lack
of study results regarding co-morbid psychiatric
whether our participants have only BDD or
have BDD in combination with other psychi-
atric disorders. It is likely that many of our in-
dividuals with BDD had co-morbid depression
or OCD. Moreover, the separation of BDD and
eating disorders is still, at times, problematic.
An exclusion criterion for BDD in our study
was the existence of body concerns primarily
focused on bodyweight. This can be considered
very restrictive, as it led to the exclusion of more
than 50% of women who were preoccupied with
the feeling of having ugly body parts. It is likely
that many men and women who are concerned
about their weight would be dissatisfied with
additional body parts. In developed countries,
many people are overweight and/or have weight
concerns, but this should not be associated with
an exclusion of the diagnosis BDD. However,
this criterion could lead to underdiagnosing
BDD in patients with eating disorders or weight
concerns, if interpreted too restrictively. So far,
no clear rules exist as to when body concerns
should be classified as pure byproducts of eating
disorders and weight concerns. The overlap and
co-morbidity of eating disorders and BDD
therefore need further examination.
Finally, cultural and ethnic influences might
determine prevalence rates. Our sample mainly
generalizations to societies with more African-
Americans, more Hispanics, and more Asian
members (as in the USA) may be inappropriate.
On the other hand, BDD-associated disorders
such as OCD show comparable prevalence rates
across countries (Horwath & Weissman, 2000),
with low cultural influences on prevalence rates.
This could also imply that cultural influences
may also have less importance on BDD. It
might be that the body part of concern is cul-
turally influenced, but not the actual prevalence
rate of BDD. These questions need to be
addressed in future studies.
To our knowledge, this is the largest study on
prevalence rates for symptoms of BDD in the
general population to date. The base rate of
1.7% and the confidence intervals of 1.2–2.1%
are consequently the most stable ones to date
and can be used for discussions on classification
approaches and treatment needs. BDD is associ-
ated with increased suicidality and somatization
scores. Nevertheless, it remains understudied
compared with other types of mental health
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