Original Article

Child Psychiatry & Human Development

, Volume 45, Issue 1, pp 24-31

The Trichotillomania Impact Project in Young Children (TIP-YC): Clinical Characteristics, Comorbidity, Functional Impairment and Treatment Utilization

  • Michael R. WaltherAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • , Ivar SnorrasonAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • , Christopher A. FlessnerAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Kent State University
  • , Martin E. FranklinAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
  • , Rachel BurkelAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • , Douglas W. WoodsAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Email author 

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Abstract

The aim was to investigate clinical characteristics of young children with a hair pulling problem. Parents/caregivers of young children (0–10 years old) with a hair pulling problem (N = 110) completed an online survey. The majority reported that their child experienced mild to moderate impairment/distress due to hair pulling, and overall clinical characteristics were similar to adult samples, although some differences were noted (e.g., less awareness of pulling). We also compared preschool-aged and school-aged children within the sample. Symptom severity, pleasure during pulling and gender ratio remained stable across the age groups. The preschool-aged children demonstrated less impairment/distress, comorbidity, and treatment seeking; pulled from fewer body areas; and were less likely to be aware of the act or experience tension prior to pulling. In conclusion, clinical characteristics of childhood hair pulling are largely similar to adult/adolescent hair pulling problems, but there are some notable differences, particularly among pre-school aged children.

Keywords

Hair pulling Trichotillomania Children Toddlers Pediatric