Excoriation (skin-picking) disorder in adults: A cross-cultural survey of Israeli Jewish and Arab samples

Vera Leibovici, Lorrin M. Koran, Sari Murad, Ihab Siam, Brian L. Odlaug, Uri Mandelkorn, Vera Feldman-Weisz, Nancy J. Keuthen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Objective We sought to estimate the lifetime prevalence of Excoriation (Skin-Picking) Disorder (SPD) in the Israeli adult population as a whole and compare SPD prevalence in the Jewish and Arab communities. We also explored demographic, medical and psychological correlates of SPD diagnosis. Methods Questionnaires and scales screening for SPD, and assessing the severity of perceived stress, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), alcohol use, illicit drug use, and medical disorders were completed in a sample of 2145 adults attending medical settings. Results The lifetime prevalence of SPD was 5.4% in the total sample; it did not differ between genders or within Jewish and Arab subsamples. Severity of depression (p < 0.001), OCD (p < 0.001) and perceived stress (p = <0.001) were greater in the SPD positive sample. Similarly, diagnoses of BDD (p = 0.02) and generalized anxiety (p = 0.03) were significantly more common in the SPD-positive respondents. Alcohol use and illicit substance use were significantly more common among SPD positive respondents in the total sample (both p's = 0.01) and the Jewish subsample (p = 0.03 and p = 0.02, respectively). Hypothyroidism was more prevalent in the SPD-positive Jewish subsample (p = 0.02). In the total sample, diabetes mellitus was more common in women than in men (p = 0.04). Conclusion Lifetime SPD appears to be relatively common in Israeli adults and associated with other mental disorders. Differences in the self-reported medical and psychiatric comorbidities between the Jewish and Arab subsamples suggest the possibility of cross-cultural variation in the correlates of this disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)102-107
Number of pages6
JournalComprehensive Psychiatry
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

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