Purpose

Previous research shows that individuals with Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) misinterpret ambiguous social information in a negative and threatening manner. These erroneous threat appraisals are thought to maintain disorder symptomatology and psychosocial impairment by reinforcing individuals' distorted self-image and ideas of social undesirability. Thus, maladaptive interpretation biases represent an important treatment target for this population; however, existing bias assessments and modification protocols are limited by the hypothetical and distal nature of scenarios and do not capture momentary experiential threat processes. The proposed study seeks to test virtual reality (VR) technology as a novel, in vivo means of eliciting, identifying, and measuring threat interpretation biases in a clinical sample to better understand the fear/threat structure activated during social interactions in BDD. Findings have the potential to enhance our understanding of disorder maintenance and identify more nuanced treatment targets. This study represents a critical first step in the long-term goal of harnessing VR gaming technology to supercharge existing treatment approaches for this debilitating illness.

Conditions

Eligibility

Eligible Ages
Over 18 Years
Eligible Genders
All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers
No

Inclusion Criteria

  • Age 18+,
  • Fluent in English,
  • Meet DSM-5 criteria for principal BDD (BDD group) or no other current psychiatric diagnosis (HC group; assessed via clinical interview).

Exclusion Criteria

  • Acute psychosis, bipolar disorder, substance use disorder, or suicidality,
  • Serious neurological impairment or intellectual disability,
  • Any known cardiac problems, diabetes, or metabolic syndrome,
  • Taking medication that affects the heart.

Study Design

Phase
Study Type
Observational
Observational Model
Case-Control
Time Perspective
Cross-Sectional

Arm Groups

ArmDescriptionAssigned Intervention
Body dysmorphic disorder Meet DSM-5 criteria for principal body dysmorphic disorder, assessed via the Structured Clinical Interview for the DSM-V Axis I Disorders (SCID)
  • Other: Virtual reality experience
    Expose all participants (healthy and control) to virtual reality videos while collecting reactivity and self-report outcome measures.
Healthy control Individuals who do not have a current psychiatric diagnosis, assessed via the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI)
  • Other: Virtual reality experience
    Expose all participants (healthy and control) to virtual reality videos while collecting reactivity and self-report outcome measures.

Recruiting Locations

Massachusetts General Hospital
Boston, Massachusetts 02114
Contact:
Anna C Schwartzberg, BA
617-724-7161
aschwartzberg@mgh.harvard.edu

More Details

NCT ID
NCT03773549
Status
Recruiting
Sponsor
Massachusetts General Hospital

Study Contact

Anna C Schwartzberg, BA
617-724-7161
aschwartzberg@mgh.harvard.edu

Notice

Study information shown on this site is derived from ClinicalTrials.gov (a public registry operated by the National Institutes of Health). The listing of studies provided is not certain to be all studies for which you might be eligible. Furthermore, study eligibility requirements can be difficult to understand and may change over time, so it is wise to speak with your medical care provider and individual research study teams when making decisions related to participation.