Relationship between self-discrepancy and worries about penis size in men with body dysmorphic disorder

David Veale, Sarah Miles, Julie Read, Sally Bramley, Andrea Troglia, Lina Carmona, Chiara Fiorito, Hannah Wells, Kevan Wylie, Gordon Muir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)
637 Downloads (Pure)


Abstract We explored self-discrepancy in men with body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) concerned about penis size, men without BDD but anxious about penis size, and controls. Men with BDD (n = 26) were compared to those with small penis anxiety (SPA; n = 31) and controls (n = 33), objectively (by measuring) and investigating self-discrepancy: actual size, ideal size, and size they felt they should be according to self and other. Most men under-estimated their penis size, with the BDD group showing the greatest discrepancy between perceived and ideal size. The SPA group showed a larger discrepancy than controls. This was replicated for the perceptions of others, suggesting the BDD group internalised the belief that they should have a larger penis size. There was a significant correlation between symptoms of BDD and this discrepancy. This self-actual and self-ideal/self-should discrepancy and the role of comparing could be targeted in therapy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-56
Number of pages9
JournalBody Image
Early online date4 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016


  • Body dysmorphic disorder
  • Penis size
  • Self-discrepancy


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