Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is defined as a preoccupation with one or more perceived flaws in appearance which are either not observable or appear only slight to others. This preoccupation is associated with significant levels of distress and dramatically reduced levels of functioning. To date only one previous study has been conducted on the prevalence of BDD in the South African context. The current study examined the prevalence of BDD among 398 students registered for modules within the Humanities faculty at a specific South African university. Further objectives of the study included the examination of differences in prevalence and experienced severity of BDD across variables of gender, race, and sexual orientation; the examination of the presence of an additional diagnostic criterion of BDD as contained in the DSM-5; the exploration of clinical and associated features of BDD as they present in the South African student context; and the exploration of help-seeking behaviour of individuals with BDD in the specific context. Findings indicated a prevalence rate of 3.3% in the non-clinical student sample. No significant differences in BDD prevalence were found across variables of gender and sexual orientation. There was, however, a significant difference in BDD prevalence across racial groups; with the highest prevalence being found in Mixed race participants. This finding is limited by the representativeness of the sample. No statistically significant differences were found in the experienced severity of the disorder across variables of gender and race; however homosexual participants who screened positive for BDD indicated significantly greater experienced severity of the disorder than heterosexual and bisexual participants. Furthermore, general appearance concerns were also found to be significantly more severe in homosexual participants than other sexual orientation groups.
Mini Dissertation (MA)--University of Pretoria, 2016.