Evaluating the Social Acceptability of Persons with Habit Disorders: The Effects of Topography, Frequency, and Gender Manipulation

  • Douglas W. Woods
  • R. Wayne Fuqua
  • Ryan C. Outman
Article

Abstract

In this study, 120 undergraduate students were asked to rate the social acceptability of a male and female who portrayed different habit behaviors (motor tics, vocal tics, Tourette's disorder, and trichotillomania). The portrayals of these behaviors were clinically valid as viewed by mental health professionals. Each habit behavior was portrayed in a variety of frequency/topography combinations including low frequency/mild topography, low frequency/severe topography, high frequency/mild topography, and high frequency/ severe topography. Participants were randomly assigned to one of four habit conditions (motor tic, vocal tic, Tourette's disorder, and trichotillomania) and were asked to rate the social acceptability of the frequency/topography combinations exhibited by each actor. Results showed that across the various habit conditions, the man with the habit was seen as less socially acceptable than the woman with the habit. In addition, low-frequency habit behaviors were more acceptable than high-frequency behaviors, and behaviors with mild topographies were more acceptable than those with severe topography habits. Motor tics were seen as more acceptable than vocal tics, Tourette's disorder, or trichotillomania. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.

tics trichotillomania Tourette's disorder 

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Douglas W. Woods
    • 1
  • R. Wayne Fuqua
    • 1
  • Ryan C. Outman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyWestern Michigan UniversityKalamazoo
  2. 2.Department of Clinical Services and ResearchNebraska

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