Emotional cycles maintaining trichotillomania (hair-pulling disorder) across subtypes

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Siwiec, Sebastian
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Education
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Education, c2013
The emotions associated with initiating, maintaining, and reinforcing hairpulling disorder (trichotillomania) were studied. Studies conducted have only looked at small community or inpatient samples, and little is known about the interplay of hairpulling subtypes and emotions. For this study, 427 participants completed an online questionnaire around their hairpulling subtype, severity, emotions experienced by hairpulling, and comorbid anxiety and depression. Using the Milwaukee Inventory for Subtypes of Trichotillomania-Adult Version (MIST-A; Flessner, Woods, Franklin, Cashin, & Keuthen, 2008), this is the first study to address the regulation of emotions across subtypes. Participants were divided as either high- or low-focused and either high- or low automatic. Significant differences between hairpulling subtypes and hairpulling severity were reported. Subtypes differed in the severity they experienced emotions; individuals with high-focused pulling reported more intense negative emotions, and a greater number of emotions regulated by pulling. Positive emotions⎯happiness, relief, and calm⎯were also found to play a significant role in reinforcing hairpulling. For high-focused subtypes, negative emotions before- and after-pulling were associated with greater severity, indicating that altering negative emotions via pulling plays an important role for high-focused subtypes. High-focused subtypes also reported higher stress, depression and anxiety than either automatic subtypes or the general population, and were found to have anxiety and depression significantly associated with hairpulling severity and experiencing negative emotions that initiated hairpulling. Clinical and treatment implications, study limitations, and areas of future research are discussed
xviii, 227 leaves ; 29 cm
Compulsive hair pulling , Self-injurious behavior , Emotions -- Physiological aspects , Emotions -- Psychological aspects , Dissertations, Academic