The Effects of Body Dysmorphia on High School Students

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Plantinga, Tara
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This paper sets out to explore the development of Body Dysmorphia and how it is becoming a problem in the school system. Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is a debilitating disorder that affects every aspect of a person's life including their ability to maintain healthy relationships. The aim of this project was to educate teachers about the difficulties that students living with BDD face every day so that they would be in a better position to support them. Chapter 1 provides the background to the problem and discusses the issues students with BDD overcome to be successful at school such as: attendance, inability to concentrate, teasing/bullying and academic performance. Coping mechanisms are also discussed including alcohol and drug abuse, self-harm and suicide. Chapter 2 defines Body Dysmorphic Disorder and looks at previous literature to draw attention to the effects of the disorder on academic performance in high school students. A developmental context is provided, along with causes and precursors to the development of BDD such as: personality traits, previous life experience, teasing/bullying, sexual abuse and parenting styles. After review of the literature this project will then propose to educate teachers and students about the causes of BDD and the resources and support available in the school and community. An informational flyer depicting the signs and symptoms of BDD is the first step in a long process to educate our school communities.