Shadows of Beauty – Prevalence of Body Dysmorphic Concerns in Germany is Increasing: Data from Two Representative Samples from 2002 and 2013
Tanja Gieler, Gabriele Schmutzer, Elmar Braehler, Christina Schut, Eva Peters, Jörg Kupfer
Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a psychosomatic disease associated with reduced quality of life and suicidal ideations. Increasing attention to beauty and the development of beauty industries lead to the hypothesis that BDD is increasing. The aim of this study was to test this hypothesis in two representative samples of Germans, assessed in 2002 and 2013. In 2002, n = 2,066 and in 2013, n = 2,508 Germans were asked to fill in the Dysmorphic Concern Questionnaire (DCQ), which assesses dysmorphic concerns. Subclinical and clinical dysmorphic concerns increased from 2002 to 2013 (subclinical from 0.5% to 2.6%, OR = 5.16 (CI95% = 2.64; 10.06); clinical from 0.5% to 1.0%, OR = 2.20 (CI95% = 1.03; 4.73). Women reported more dysmorphic concerns than men, with rates of 0.7% subclinical and 0.8 clinical BDD in women and 0.3% subclinical and 0.1% clinical BDD in men in 2002. In 2013, 2.8% subclinical and 1.2% clinical BDD were found in women and 2.4% subclinical and 0.8% clinical BDD in men. Further studies should assess predictors for developing a BDD and evaluate factors determining the efficacy of disease-specific psychotherapeutic and psychotropic drug treatments.