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      Body esteem in adolescent hair pullers

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          Background and aims: Trichotillomania (TTM) often first presents in adolescence, a developmental period marked by vulnerability in body image. To date, no one has studied the relationship between this disorder and body esteem. Methods: 49 adolescents with DSM-IV TTM or chronic hair pulling (HP) and 23 control adolescents were administered diagnostic assessments and self-report measures of hair pulling and body esteem. Results: HP youth vs. controls reported lower levels of body esteem on all Body-Esteem Scale for Adolescents and Adults (BESAA) subscales (appearance, attribution and weight satisfaction). HP contributed to lowered body esteem, independent of comorbid anxiety or depression. As expected, HP youth with vs. without comorbid anxiety or depression reported lowered levels of body esteem. Further, greater HP severity and distress were significantly associated with lower levels of body esteem. HP severity alone but not distress/impairment predicted lower levels of body esteem, independent of comorbid anxiety and depression. Conclusions: Both hair pulling and comorbid anxiety and depression can independently impact body esteem in adolescent hair pullers.

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          Most cited references 19

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          Body-image and eating disturbances predict onset of depression among female adolescents: a longitudinal study.

          This study examined data from a 4-year school-based longitudinal study (n = 1,124), to test whether the increase in major depression that occurs among girls during adolescence may be partially explained by the body-image and eating disturbances that emerge after puberty. Elevated body dissatisfaction, dietary restraint, and bulimic symptoms at study entry predicted onset of subsequent depression among initially nondepressed youth in bivariate analyses controlling for initial depressive symptoms. Although the unique effect for body dissatisfaction was not significant in the multivariate model, this set of risk factors was able to fairly accurately foretell which girls would go on to develop major depression. Results were consistent with the assertion that the body-image- and eating-related risk factors that emerge after puberty might contribute to the elevated rates of depression for adolescent girls.
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            The assessment of trichotillomania.

            Trichotillomania is a disorder characterized by hair-pulling and resulting hair loss. Hair is usually pulled from the scalp, eyelashes, eyebrows, beard, and pubic area. Sufferers often resort to wearing wigs or elaborate hair styles and make-up to camouflage bald patches. It occurs more frequently in women and is associated with considerable distress. The two treatments of choice currently are pharmacotherapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy. The choice of assessment procedures includes self-monitoring, saving hairs, interview, observational rating, digital photograph and computer scoring, significant others' report, and standardized measures. Goals of assessment in trichotillomania and advantages and disadvantages of assessment procedures are discussed. The Trichotillomania Diagnostic Interview is presented as a standardized diagnostic interview.
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              Weight concerns, body image, depression and anxiety in Swedish adolescents.

              To assess weight problems and correlates in respect of body image, depression, anxiety and demographic background factors. 405 Swedish adolescents were assessed in respect of Body Mass Index (BMI), biographical data, the Body Esteem Scale for Adolescents and Adults (BESAA), the Multidimensional Anxiety Scale for Children (MASC) and the Children's Depression Inventory (CDI). Boys were in the positive and girls in the negative direction from ideal BMI for age and gender. Girls and boys differed in respect of CDI, MASC and of BESAA where girls generally were shifted in the "pathological" direction. The adolescents' own positive attitude to slimness, negative mood (girls), and anxiety symptoms that reflect social fears (boys) and physical aspects of anxiety (girls and boys) were important correlates of lower BMI than ideal. Adolescent cultural norms need to be addressed in preventive work. However, in girls' separation anxiety might be a protective factor against underweight. In girls, overweight seems to be associated with negative self-esteem.

                Author and article information

                J Behav Addict
                Journal of Behavioral Addictions
                Akadémiai Kiadó (Budapest )
                June 2014
                5 April 2014
                : 3
                : 2
                : 124-127
                1The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA
                2Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
                Author notes
                * Corresponding author: Erin M. Altenburger, BA; Psychology Department, The Ohio State University, 181 Psychology Building, 1835 Neil Avenue, Columbus, OH, 43210, USA; Phone: +1-614-292-9775; Fax: +1-614-688-8261; E-mail: altenburger.20@
                © 2014 Akadémiai Kiadó

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Brief Report

                body esteem, trichotillomania, hair pulling


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