Psychiatric Quarterly

, Volume 77, Issue 2, pp 129–138

Tanning in Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Authors

    • Butler Hospital
    • The Department of Psychiatry and Human BehaviorBrown Medical School
    • Butler Hospital
  • Michelle Conroy
    • The Department of Psychiatry and Human BehaviorBrown Medical School
  • Raymond G. Dufresne
    • Rhode Island Hospital
    • The Department of DermatologyBrown Medical School
  • William Menard
    • Butler Hospital
  • Elizabeth R. Didie
    • Butler Hospital
    • The Department of Psychiatry and Human BehaviorBrown Medical School
  • Jennifer Hunter-Yates
    • Rhode Island Hospital
    • The Department of DermatologyBrown Medical School
  • Christina Fay
    • Butler Hospital
  • Maria Pagano
    • The Department of Psychiatry and Human BehaviorBrown Medical School
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11126-006-9002-2

Cite this article as:
Phillips, K.A., Conroy, M., Dufresne, R.G. et al. Psychiatr Q (2006) 77: 129. doi:10.1007/s11126-006-9002-2

Tanning in body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) has not previously been studied. In this study, 200 subjects with BDD were evaluated with measures to examine the prevalence of BDD-related tanning—i.e., darkening one's skin color by direct exposure to sunlight or artificial light which is motivated by a desire to improve a perceived appearance defect (i.e., a BDD concern). We also examined clinical characteristics of individuals who engaged in BDD-related tanning. 25% (95% CI, 19.0%–31.0%) of subjects reported BDD-related tanning. Among tanners, the skin was the most common body area of concern (84.0%). All tanners experienced functional impairment due to BDD, 26% had attempted suicide, and quality of life was markedly poor. 52% of tanners had received dermatologic treatment, which was usually ineffective for BDD symptoms. Tanners were more likely than non-tanners to compulsively pick their skin. In conclusion, tanning—a behavior with well-known health risks—is a relatively frequent BDD-related behavior.

KEY WORDS:

body dysmorphic disorderdysmorphophobiatanningsomatoform disorder

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006