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Keywords:

  • body dysmorphic disorder;
  • dysmorphophobia;
  • social phobia;
  • social anxiety disorder

Abstract

Much attention has been paid to the relationship between body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) and obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD). However, to our knowledge, no published study has focused directly on the relationship between BDD and social phobia (SP). This is striking given similar clinical features of the two disorders, data showing elevated comorbidity between them, and Eastern conceptualizations of BDD as a form of SP. In this study, 39.3% of 178 individuals with current BDD had comorbid lifetime SP, and 34.3% had current SP. SP onset was typically before BDD. Individuals with BDD, with and without lifetime SP, were similar on many general characteristics (e.g., age of BDD onset, gender distribution, BDD severity, overall functional disability). However, subjects with BDD+SP were significantly less likely to be employed, were more likely to report lifetime suicidal ideation, and had poorer global social adjustment on one of two measures. Both BDD and SP were associated with elevated social anxiety; subjects with BDD+SP experienced additional social anxiety that appeared independent of BDD symptoms. Examining 1-year prospective data available for 161 subjects, BDD+SP subjects were somewhat less likely to experience remission (partial or full) of their BDD symptoms over 1-year follow-up, although this difference was not statistically significant (hazard ratio=.64, P=.18). In summary, these findings, including elevated rates of SP in patients with BDD, highlight a need for additional research on the relationship between BDD and SP. Depression and Anxiety 23:26–33, 2006. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.