A preliminary survey of rhinotillexomania in an adolescent sample

J Clin Psychiatry. 2001 Jun;62(6):426-31. doi: 10.4088/jcp.v62n0605.


Background: Rhinotillexomania is a recent term coined to describe compulsive nose picking. There is little world literature on nose-picking behavior in the general population.

Method: We studied nose-picking behavior in a sample of 200 adolescents from 4 urban schools.

Results: Almost the entire sample admitted to nose picking, with a median frequency of 4 times per day; the frequency was > 20 times per day in 7.6% of the sample. Nearly 17% of subjects considered that they had a serious nose-picking problem. Other somatic habits such as nail biting, scratching in a specific spot, or pulling out of hair were also common; 3 or more such behaviors were simultaneously present in 14.2% of the sample, only in males. Occasional nose bleeds complicating nose picking occurred in 25% of subjects. Several interesting findings in specific categories of nose pickers were identified.

Conclusion: Nose picking is common in adolescents. It is often associated with other habitual behaviors. Nose picking may merit closer epidemiologic and nosologic scrutiny.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Comorbidity
  • Data Collection / statistics & numerical data
  • Disruptive, Impulse Control, and Conduct Disorders / diagnosis
  • Disruptive, Impulse Control, and Conduct Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Disruptive, Impulse Control, and Conduct Disorders / psychology
  • Female
  • Habits*
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Nose*
  • Prevalence
  • Psychology, Adolescent
  • Sex Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Students / psychology
  • Students / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Trichotillomania / diagnosis
  • Trichotillomania / epidemiology
  • Trichotillomania / psychology