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.
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Conflicts of interest
Dr. Franklin is currently receiving grants from the NIMH (# RO1 MH079377/RO1 MH077197) and receives book royalties from Springer Press. Dr. Woods is currently receiving grants from NIMH (#5 RO1 MH080966-02) and the Tourette Syndrome Association, and receives book royalties from Oxford University Press, Guilford Press and Springer Press. Drs. Franklin, Woods, & Flessner serve on the scientific advisory board of the Trichotillomania Learning Center. For the remaining authors none were declared.
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Walther, M.R., Snorrason, I., Flessner, C.A. et al. The Trichotillomania Impact Project in Young Children (TIP-YC): Clinical Characteristics, Comorbidity, Functional Impairment and Treatment Utilization. Child Psychiatry Hum Dev 45, 24–31 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10578-013-0373-y