Term of Award

Winter 2015

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Thresa Yancey

Committee Member 1

Lawrence Locker

Committee Member 2

Karen Naufel


Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) involves a potentially debilitating preoccupation with an imagined or minor flaw in one’s appearance (American Psychiatric Association, 2013; Phillips, 2005). Common body areas of preoccupation include the skin, face, hair, and muscles (Castle, Ross, & Kyrios, 2006; Mosley, 2009; Phillips, 2005; Veale, 2003). With the publication of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders—5th edition (APA, 2013), BDD was moved from the Somatoform Disorder classification to the new diagnostic category of Obsessive-Compulsive and related disorders. A new example of preoccupation with skin tone and an associated behavior of excessive tanning were added to the BDD diagnostic criteria. The purpose of the current study is two-fold: (a) to add to the body of psychological literature regarding body dysmorphic disorder (BDD); and (b) to examine tanning behavior as a presentation of body dysmorphic disorder. It was hypothesized that participants who reported greater concern about skin tone and more tanning behaviors would score significantly higher on measures that have been empirically shown to correlate with BDD (namely anxiety, depression, body image concern, and addiction) than participants who reported less skin tone concern and fewer tanning behaviors. Tanning Behavior Frequency was significantly and positively related to Body Image Concerns, CAGE-T, and Physical Appearance Reasons for Tanning. Gender was significantly and positively related to Body Image Concerns and CAGE-T such that identifying as female was related to higher levels of both constructs, yet identifying as female significantly predicted lower Depression. However, there was a significant interaction between Gender and Tanning Behavior Frequency, with the interaction of the two predicting significantly higher Body Image Concerns, CAGE-T, and Physical Appearance Reasons for Tanning, but lower Depression, for women. Analyses did not reveal a relationship between rurality and any of the other variables examined. Though this study examined only one potential presentation of BDD (i.e., problematic tanning behaviors), it also partly serves to increase the understanding of the disorder. It is possible that future research can be done to examine whether or not relationships found between variables in this current study could also be found in other presentations of body dysmorphic disorder.