Hair Pulling Antecedents in Trichotillomania: Their Relationship with Experiential Avoidance

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Guilford Press

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Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic

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In this study, 285 adults who met criteria for trichotillomania (TTM) via self-report completed an online, cross-sectional survey examining antecedent phenomenological experiences pertaining to hair pulling along with measures of TTM severity and experiential avoidance (i.e., avoidance of or escape from unwanted thoughts or feelings). Results showed a heterogeneous depiction of antecedent experiences. Subsequent analyses revealed that certain antecedents were not significantly related to TTM severity but were significantly correlated with higher levels of experiential avoidance. In particular, four of five classes of antecedents (i.e., bodily sensations, physical symptoms, mental anxiety, and general uncomfortableness) were significantly related to greater experiential avoidance. The authors conclude that treatments may need to be designed to address specific private antecedents, and that this may be done through targeting experiential avoidance.


Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic, Vol. 84, No. 1 (March 2020): 35-52. DOI.