Article

The prevalence of pathologic skin picking in US adults.

Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA.
Comprehensive psychiatry (Impact Factor: 2.26). 03/2010; 51(2):183-6. DOI: 10.1016/j.comppsych.2009.04.003
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Despite increasing recognition of the potentially severe medical and psychosocial costs of pathologic skin picking (PSP), no large-sample, randomized investigation of its prevalence in a national population has been conducted.
Two thousand five hundred and thirteen US adults were interviewed during the spring and summer of 2004 in a random-sample, national household computer-assisted phone survey of PSP phenomenology and associated functional impairment. Respondents were classified for subsequent analysis according to proposed diagnostic criteria.
Of all respondents, 16.6% endorsed lifetime PSP with noticeable skin damage; 60.3% of these denied picking secondary to an inflammation or itch from a medical condition. One fifth to one quarter of those with lifetime PSP not related to a medical condition endorsed tension or nervousness before picking, tension or nervousness when attempting to resist picking, and pleasure or relief during or after picking. A total of 1.4% of our entire sample satisfied our criteria of picking with noticeable skin damage not attributable to another condition and with associated distress or psychosocial impairment. Pickers satisfying these latter criteria differed from other respondents in demographics (age, marital status) and both picking phenomenology and frequency.

3 Followers
 · 
254 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Objective The purpose of the study was to examine the prevalence of excoriation (skin picking) disorder (SPD) and associated physical and mental health correlates in a sample of Israeli university students. Methods Five thousand Israeli students were given questionnaires screening for SPD, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, body dysmorphic disorder and disruptive, impulse control and conduct disorders. A total of 2176 participants (43.6%) responded and were included in the analysis. Mean age was 25.1±4.8 (range 17-60) years and 64.3% were female. Results 3.03% of students screened positive for SPD with a nearly equal gender distribution (3.0% in females and 3.1% in males). There was a trend towards significantly higher rates of psychiatric problems such as generalized anxiety, compulsive sexual behavior and eating disorders in these students. Within the group of students screening positive for SPD, alcohol intake was higher in male students, while female students perceived themselves as less attractive. No association was found between depression and SPD. A high prevalence rate of skin picking was found within first-degree family members of the participants screening positive for SPD. Conclusions Clinicians and public health officials within university settings should screen for SPD as it is common and associated with psychosocial dysfunction.
    General Hospital Psychiatry 11/2014; 36(6). DOI:10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2014.07.008 · 2.90 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Body-focused repetitive behaviors (BFRBs) are repetitive, injurious, and non-functional habits that cause significant distress or impairment, including hair-pulling, skin-picking, and nail-biting. The emotion regulation (ER) model suggests that BFRBs are triggered by negative emotions and reinforced by alleviation of unpleasant affect. The frustrated action (FA) model suggests that BFRBs are triggered by and alleviate impatience, boredom, frustration, and dissatisfaction. Individuals with BFRBs are hypothesized to be particularly susceptible to these emotions because they demonstrate maladaptive planning styles characterized by high standards and unwillingness to relax. Objectives The objective of this study was to test these two models. Methods This study compared urge to engage in BFRBs in a BFRB group (n = 24) and a control group (n = 23) in experimental conditions designed to elicit boredom/frustration, stress, and relaxation, respectively. Results The BFRB group reported a significant greater urge to engage in BFRBs than the control group across conditions. Participants in the BFRB group reported a stronger urge to engage in BFRBs in the boredom/frustration condition than in the relaxation condition but not in the stress condition. Finally, the BFRB group presented significantly higher scores on maladaptive planning style, and maladaptive planning style was significantly correlated with difficulties with ER. Limitations Future studies may wish to exclusively use validated mood induction and use more stringent inclusion criteria. Conclusions The results highlight the role of boredom, frustration, and impatience in triggering BFRBs, and support the FA model.
    Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry 11/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.jbtep.2014.10.007 · 2.23 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Skin-picking disorder (SPD) is a disabling psychiatric condition that can lead to skin damage and other medical complications. Epidemiological data is scarce and its causes are unknown. The present study examined the prevalence and heritability of skin-picking symptoms in a large sample of twins. A total of 2,518 twins completed a valid and reliable self-report measure of skin-picking behavior. The prevalence of clinically significant skin picking was established using empirically derived cut-offs. Twin modeling methods were employed to decompose the variance in the liability to skin picking into additive genetic and shared and non-shared environmental factors. A total of 1.2% of twins scored above the cut-off, indicative of clinically significant skin picking. All these participants were women. Univariate model-fitting analyses (female twins only, N = 2,191) showed that genetic factors accounted for approximately 40% (95% CI 19-58%) of the variance in skin picking, with non-shared environmental factors and measurement error accounting for the remaining variance (60% [95% CI 42-81%]). Shared environmental factors were negligible. It is concluded that pathological skin picking is relatively prevalent problem, particularly among women, and that it tends to run in families primarily due to genetic factors. Non-shared environmental factors are also likely to play an important role in its etiology.
    American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B Neuropsychiatric Genetics 07/2012; 159B(5):605-10. DOI:10.1002/ajmg.b.32067 · 3.27 Impact Factor