Impulse control disorders in non-treatment seeking hair pullers

Liana R.N. Schreiber, Katherine Lust, Brian Odlaug, Katherine L. Derbyshire, Jon Grant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background and aims: Hair pulling is a common body focused repetitive behavior. The purpose of this paper is to examine the prevalence of impulse control disorders (as defined in DSM-IV-TR) in a non-treatment seeking sample of hair pullers. Methods: 1,717 college students with (n = 44) and without (n = 1673) hair pulling completed a mental health survey. The college students were sent an online survey assessing hair pulling behavior and other impulse control disorders using the Minnesota Impulsive Disorders Interview. Results: Students with hair pulling were significantly more likely to have a co-occurring impulse control disorder (20.5% vs. 8.9%, p = 0.009, OR = 2.71, CI = 1.28-5.75) and were significantly more likely to meet criteria for compulsive buying, compulsive sexual behavior and intermittent explosive disorder than students without hair pulling. Differences seemed to be moderated by the male gender among students with hair pulling. Discussion and conclusions: Hair pulling is often comorbid with another impulse control disorder, which suggests that elements of impulsivity may be important in our understanding of hair pulling. Furthermore, gender may moderate impulse control comorbidity in hair pulling disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-116
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Behavioral Addictions
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2013 Akadémiai Kiadó.

Copyright 2019 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Comorbidity
  • Hair pulling disorder
  • Impulse control disorders


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