The presence, predictive utility, and clinical significance of body dysmorphic symptoms in women with eating disorders

Deborah Mitchison, Rocco Crino, Phillipa Hay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Both eating disorders (EDs) and body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) are disorders of body image. Thisstudy aimed to assess the presence, predictive utility, and impact of clinical features commonly associated withBDD in women with EDs.Methods: Participants recruited from two non-clinical cohorts of women, symptomatic and asymptomatic of EDs,completed a survey on ED (EDE-Q) and BDD (BDDE-SR) psychopathology, psychological distress (K-10), and qualityof life (SF-12).Results: A strong correlation was observed between the total BDDE-SR and the global EDE-Q scores (r = 0.79,p < 0.001). Multivariate analyses demonstrated that participants with probable EDs (n = 61) and BDD (n = 23)scored higher on 28 of the 30 BDDE-SR items compared to healthy controls (n = 173; all p < 0.05), indicatinggreater severity of BDD symptoms. BDD participants also scored higher than ED participants on 15 of the 30 BDDE-SRitems (all p < 0.05). The remaining 15 items that ED and BDD participants scored similarly on (all p > 0.05)measuredappearance checking, reassurance-seeking, camouflaging, comparison-making, and social avoidance. In addition tothese behaviors, inspection of sensitivity (Se) and specificity (Sp) revealed that BDDE-SR items measuring preoccupationand dissatisfaction with appearance were most predictive of ED cases (Se and Sp > 0.60). Higher total BDDE-SR scoreswere associated with greater distress on the K-10 and poorer quality of life on the SF-12 (all p < 0.01).Conclusions: Clinical features central to the model of BDD are common in, predictive of, and associated withimpairment in women with EDs. Practice implications are that these features be included in the assessment andtreatment of EDs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Eating Disorders
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 2013


Dive into the research topics of 'The presence, predictive utility, and clinical significance of body dysmorphic symptoms in women with eating disorders'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this