Background: Despite the prevalence of androgenetic alopecia among men, little is known about its psychological effects.
Objective: This investigation examined the psychosocial sequelae that balding men attribute to hair loss and compared balding and nonbalding men in personality functioning.
Methods: Subjects included 63 men with modest balding, 40 men with more extensive balding, and 42 nonbalding controls. All anonymously completed a battery of standardized psychological measures.
Results: Reported effects of balding reflected considerable preoccupation, moderate stress or distress, and copious coping efforts. These effects were especially salient among men with more extensive balding and among younger men, single men, and those with an earlier hair-loss onset. Relative to controls, balding men had less body-image satisfaction yet were comparable on other personality indexes. Personality correlates of the psychological responses to hair loss were identified.
Conclusion: Although most men regard hair loss to be an unwanted, distressing experience that diminishes their body image, balding men actively cope and generally retain the integrity of their personality functioning.