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Sleep quality and its clinical associations in trichotillomania and skin picking disorder.

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Cavic, Elizabeth 
Valle, Stephanie 
Chamberlain, Samuel R 
Grant, Jon E 


BACKGROUND: Trichotillomania (TTM) is characterized by recurrent hair pulling and associated hair loss. Skin picking disorder (SPD) is characterized by recurrent skin picking and associated scarring or tissue damage. Both disorders are also accompanied by psychological distress and poor sleep. Very little, however, is known about lifestyle variables that may contribute to symptom severity in these disorders. METHODS: We recruited 87 adults as part of a cross-sectional study of 3 groups (TTM, SPD, and non-affected). Clinical subjects (n=69) were compared with controls (n=18) on sleep quality as measured by Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI). We used partial least squares regression to identify which variables were significantly associated with poor sleep quality among those participants with TTM or SPD. RESULTS: Clinical subjects had significantly poorer sleep quality than controls. Sleep quality was significantly related to older age, worse perceived stress, lower distress tolerance and greater impulsivity in adults with BFRBs. Poor sleep quality was associated with worse hair pulling symptom severity but not skin picking severity. Higher levels of comorbid mental disorders was also associated with worse sleep, above and beyond the impact of these other variables. CONCLSUIONS: Poor sleep quality appears to be related to multiple variables. Further research is needed to determine causality and to tailor treatment to specific patient needs.



Skin-picking disorder, Sleep quality, Stress, Trichotillomania, Adult, Aged, Cross-Sectional Studies, Humans, Impulsive Behavior, Sleep, Trichotillomania

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Compr Psychiatry

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Elsevier BV
Wellcome Trust (110049/Z/15/Z)