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23-05-2015 | Original Article | Uitgave 2/2016

Child Psychiatry & Human Development 2/2016

Inhibitory Control in Pediatric Trichotillomania (Hair Pulling Disorder): The Importance of Controlling for Age and Symptoms of Inattention and Hyperactivity

Child Psychiatry & Human Development > Uitgave 2/2016
Elle Brennan, Sarah Francazio, John Gunstad, Christopher Flessner


Trichotillomania (hair pulling disorder, HPD) is characterized by significant psychological distress, childhood-onset, and, in adults, certain cognitive deficits such as inhibitory control. A total absence of such literature exists within pediatric HPD samples, including research investigating neurocognitive aspects of disparate pulling-styles. The present study aims to address these gaps in the literature. Youth with HPD and healthy controls (N = 45) were compared on an automated neurocognitive task—stop-signal task (SST)—assessing inhibitory control. Youth with HPD (n = 17), controlling for age and attention issues, were found to perform better on the stop-signal reaction time compared to controls (n = 28). No significant relationships between performance on the SST and HPD severity, distress/impairment, or pulling-styles were noted. Findings from the current study suggest that children with HPD may not exhibit deficits in motor inhibition as compared to controls when the effects of age and attentional problems are controlled.

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