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Body dysmorphic disorder in patients with borderline personality disorder: prevalence, clinical characteristics, and role of childhood trauma

  • Umit Semiz (a1), Cengiz Basoglu (a1), Mesut Cetin (a1), Servet Ebrinc (a1), Ozcan Uzun (a1) and Berk Ergun (a1)...

The prevalence of body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) in patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD) is unidentified. We hypothesised that BDD would be more common than realised in patients with BPD and comorbidity with BDD would result in a more severe clinical profile. Also, childhood trauma may play a predictive role in this association.


The study included 70 BPD in-patients and 70 matched healthy controls. The subjects were evaluated with a comprehensive assessment battery using Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I Disorders (SCID-I), Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-III-R Personality Disorders (SCID-II) diagnostic tool for BDD, Global Assessment of Functioning, Traumatic Experiences Checklist and Hamilton Depression Rating Scale.


The prevalence of BDD was 54.3% in the borderline sample. The BPD patients with BDD had significantly lower overall functioning and higher levels of BPD pathology, childhood traumatic experiences, suicide attempts, substance abuse and self-mutilation than those without BDD. Traumatic experiences were significant predictor of comorbid BDD diagnosis in BPD patients.


Our results suggest a relatively high prevalence of BDD among patients with BPD, and co-occurrence of BDD and BPD remains to be clarified. The additional diagnosis of BDD in patients with BPD may cause a more severe global illness, and these two disorders may share, at least partly, a common psychopathologic mechanism.

Corresponding author
Dr Umit Semiz, GATA Haydarpasa Training Hospital, Psychiatry, Uskudar, 34668 Istanbul, Turkey. Tel: +90 216 5422020-3755; Fax: +90 216 3493517; E-mail:
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Acta Neuropsychiatrica
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