Comorbidity and quality of life in adults with hair pulling disorder (Trichotillomania)

D.C. Houghton, J. Maas, M.P. Twohig, Saunders S., S. Compton, A. Neil-Barnett, Douglas W. Woods, Martin E. Franklin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


Hair pulling disorder (HPD; trichotillomania) is thought to be associated with significant psychiatric comorbidity and functional impairment. However, few methodologically rigorous studies of HPD have been conducted, rendering such conclusions tenuous. The following study examined comorbidity and psychosocial functioning in a well-characterized sample of adults with HPD (N=85) who met DSM-IV criteria, had at least moderate hair pulling severity, and participated in a clinical trial. Results revealed that 38.8% of individuals with HPD had another current psychiatric diagnosis and 78.8% had another lifetime (present and/or past) psychiatric diagnosis. Specifically, HPD showed substantial overlap with depressive, anxiety, addictive, and other body-focused repetitive behavior disorders. The relationships between certain comorbidity patterns, hair pulling severity, current mood and anxiety symptoms, and quality of life were also examined. Results showed that current depressive symptoms were the only predictor of quality of life deficits. Implications of these findings for the conceptualization and treatment of HPD are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-19
JournalPsychiatry Research
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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