Self-esteem in body dysmorphic disorder

Katharine A. Phillips, Anthony Pinto, Satyam Jain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although studies indicate that poor body image is associated with poor self-esteem, few investigations have examined self-esteem in a clinical sample of individuals with body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). The present study examined self-esteem in 93 BDD patients and change in self-esteem with pharmacotherapy. Subjects completed the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES) and were assessed with other measures. Participants in a placebo-controlled fluoxetine trial completed measures at baseline and endpoint. The mean RSES score was approximately 1.5 SD units lower than means reported for nonclinical samples. Although poorer self-esteem was associated with more severe BDD and depression, as well as greater delusionality, the relationship between self-esteem and BDD severity was largely mediated by depressive symptoms. Self-esteem did not improve significantly more with fluoxetine than placebo, although it improved significantly more in fluoxetine responders than in nonresponders. It is unclear whether poor self-esteem predisposes to BDD and/or is a consequence of the disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)385-390
Number of pages6
JournalBody Image
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Body dysmorphic disorder
  • Depression
  • Fluoxetine
  • Pharmacotherapy
  • Self-esteem

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychology(all)

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