Hairpulling and Skin Picking in Relation to Affective Distress and Obsessive-Compulsive Symptoms

  • Greg Hajcak
  • Martin E. Franklin
  • Robert F. Simons
  • Nancy J. Keuthen
Original Article

The current study examined the frequency and associated distress of both hairpulling and skin picking behaviors in 1,324 college students using the Massachusetts General Hospital Hairpulling Scale (MGHHS) and Skin Picking Scale (SPS). In this sample, many participants reported significant distress secondary to both hairpulling and skin picking. Participants who endorsed relatively frequent hairpulling or skin picking (N = 72) were scheduled for a follow-up testing session to further assess the relationship between these behaviors and measures of affective distress. Compared to a control sample, the follow-up sample endorsed significantly more symptoms of anxiety and stress reactivity, and had higher scores on a measure of obsessive-compulsive symptoms.


trichotillomania skin picking prevalence obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorder 



This research was supported in part by National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) predoctoral fellowship MH069047 (GH). Special thanks to Jason S. Moser for help with data collection.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Greg Hajcak
    • 1
    • 2
  • Martin E. Franklin
    • 2
  • Robert F. Simons
    • 1
  • Nancy J. Keuthen
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of DelawareNewarkUSA
  2. 2.Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety, Department of PsychiatryUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryMassachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA

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