Predictors of comorbid obsessive-compulsive disorder and skin-picking disorder in trichotillomania

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

Trichotillomania (TTM), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and skin-picking disorder (SPD) frequently occur together and share overlapping phenomenology, pathophysiology, and possible genetic underpinnings. This study sought to identify factors that predict OCD and SPD in hair pullers.

METHODS

Five hundred fifty-five adult female hair pullers were recruited from specialty clinics and assessed using standardized, semi-structured interviews and self-reports. Clinical predictors and multivariate models were evaluated using logistic regression modeling.

RESULTS

Hair pullers met criteria for OCD (18.9%), SPD (19.5%), or chronic skin picking (CSP) (5%), or both comorbid diagnoses, respectively. In the final multivariate model for OCD, family history of OCD and an eating disorder diagnosis were associated with an increased risk of OCD in TTM. A nail-biting diagnosis was associated with a decreased risk of OCD in TTM. In the final multivariate model for SPD/CSP, only family history of OCD was associated with an increased risk of SPD/CSP in TTM.

CONCLUSIONS

Identification of factors predicting OCD and SPD in TTM provides evidence for the relatedness of these disorders and supports their collective classification as obsessive-compulsive and related disorders (OCRDs) in DSM-5. The findings of this study further underscore the importance of assessing for comorbid OCRDs and family histories of OCRDs in clinical practice.

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