Body dysmorphic disorder symptoms and risk for suicide: The role of depression

A. M. Shaw, K. A. Arditte Hall, E. Rosenfield, Kiara R Timpano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is associated with elevated suicidality. Little is known about why BDD patients are at increased risk. The interpersonal-psychological theory of suicide (IPTS) could clarify suicidality in BDD, and theorizes that perceived burdensomeness and thwarted belongingness lead to suicidal desire, while an acquired capability for suicide is necessary to attempt suicide. No study has investigated how BDD symptoms relate to IPTS constructs or mediators of the relationship between BDD and suicidality. Individuals (N = 235) enrolled in's Mechanical Turk (MTurk), who had appearance concerns, completed questionnaires about BDD, depression, eating pathology, and suicide risk. MTurk is an online data collection platform in which participants complete surveys for payment. BDD symptoms predicted suicidal desire, but not acquired capability for suicide. Depression mediated the relationship between BDD and suicidal desire. Research should examine how fluctuations in BDD affect suicide risk. Replication in a clinical sample may inform treatments for BDD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-174
Number of pages6
JournalBody Image
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016


  • Body dysmorphic disorder
  • Depression
  • Perceived burdensomeness
  • Suicide risk
  • Thwarted belongingness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychology(all)


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