Escalation from normal appearance related intrusive cognitions to clinical preoccupations in Body Dysmorphic Disorder: A cross-sectional study.

Research paper by Martha M Giraldo-O'Meara, Amparo A Belloch

Indexed on: 29 Apr '18Published on: 29 Apr '18Published in: Psychiatry Research


Current cognitive approaches to Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) assume that appearance-related intrusive cognitions and their functional consequences characterize the disorder, in a similar way that obsessive intrusive thoughts characterize the Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). This study explores whether normal but unwanted appearance-related intrusive thoughts (AITs), escalate to clinical AITs when they are dysfunctionally appraised and instigate counterproductive neutralizing strategies. From a sample of 344 non-clinical individuals who reported a highly upsetting AIT during the past three months two subgroups were extracted according to their high (n = 68) and low (n = 276) vulnerability to BDD. The subjects in the high-risk group obtained significantly higher scores on the frequency of the most disturbing AIT and its emotional impact, interference, and appraisals evaluated with the Appearance Intrusions Questionnaire (AIQ). Additionally, two subgroups of 15 subjects each, with high and low risk to BDD, were formed and their scores were compared to 10 patients with BDD. The AIT had a greater emotional negative impact and more severe consequences on individuals with BDD compared to individuals at high-risk of BDD, which in turn, reported worse consequences of the AIT than those at low-risk. These results empirically support the similarities between BDD and OCD regarding their functional and phenomenological characteristics. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.