Muscle dysmorphia: A South African sample

Volker Hitzeroth, Charmaine Wessels, Nompumelelo Zungu-Dirwayi, Piet Oosthuizen, Dan J. Stein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


It has recently been suggested that muscle dysmorphia, a pathological preoccupation with muscularity, is a subtype of body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). There are, however, few studies of the phenomenology of this putative entity. Twenty-eight amateur competitive body builders in the Western Cape, South Africa, were studied using a structured diagnostic interview that incorporated demographic data, body-building activities and clinical questions focusing on muscle dysmorphia and BDD. There was a high rate of muscle dysmorphia in the sample (53.6%). Those with muscle dysmorphia were significantly more likely to have comorbid BDD based on preoccupations other than muscularity (33%). Use of the proposed diagnostic criteria for muscle dysmorphia indicated that this is a common and relevant entity. Its conceptualization as a subtype of BDD seems valid. The disorder deserves additional attention from both clinicians and researchers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)521-523
Number of pages3
JournalPsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Body building
  • Body dysmorphic disorder
  • Muscle dysmorphia


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