Comorbid personality impairment in body dysmorphic disorder

Lisa J. Cohen, Priscilla Kingston, Andrew Bell, Jee Kwon, Bonnie Aronowitz, Eric Hollander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Personality impairment was evaluated in 17 body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) patients undergoing a treatment study of clomipramine versus desipramine. Semistructured interviews were administered using both categorical (Structured Clinical Interview for DSM [SCID II]) and dimensional (Dimensional Assessment of Personality Impairment [DAPI]) methods. Personality measures were also correlated with a range of clinical variables (severity of BDD and depressive symptoms, age, duration of illness, and response to treatment). A secondary aim of the study was to provide preliminary validation for the DAPI. Consistent with previous studies, BDD patients showed considerable personality pathology. By SCID II, patients met criteria for a mean of 2.53 personality disorder diagnoses; 87% of patients met criteria for at least 1 diagnosis and 53% for more than 1. Cluster C diagnoses were the most common. Mean scores for the DAPI were 2.63 (3 = mild impairment) to 6.41 (7 = severe impairment), averaging 5.26 (5 = moderate). With regard to the DAPI, the results provided preliminary evidence of good reliability and validity. Moreover, both personality measures were highly intercorrelated. Although SCID II diagnoses correlated with baseline depression (Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression [HRSD]) scores, there were few other significant correlations between personality and other clinical variables. Of note, however, treatment responders demonstrated less personality impairment than nonresponders. The finding that personality measures were highly intercorrelated but, on the whole, not well correlated with other clinical measures supports the distinct and dissociable nature of personality phenomena in BDD. Despite the small sample size, these results suggest that personality impairment appears to be significant factor in BDD and may even play a role in treatment response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4-12
Number of pages9
JournalComprehensive Psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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