Habit reversal as a treatment for chronic skin picking: a pilot investigation

Behav Modif. 2006 Jul;30(4):411-22. doi: 10.1177/0145445504265707.


The purpose of this study was to compare the effectiveness of habit reversal (HR) to a wait-list control as a treatment for chronic skin picking in adults. Twenty-five adults with a chronic skin-picking problem were randomly assigned to a wait-list control or HR group. At pretreatment, posttreatment, and a 3-month follow-up, self-reported skin picking was assessed, and photographs were taken of the damaged areas and later rated by independent observers. Treatment acceptability data were collected at posttreatment only. Results showed that HR produced a greater decrease in skin picking at posttreatment and follow-up when compared to the wait-list control group. Data from the independent raters confirmed these findings. HR was also viewed as an acceptable intervention by the participants.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Awareness
  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Habits*
  • Humans
  • Pilot Projects
  • Reversal Learning*
  • Self Care / psychology
  • Self-Injurious Behavior / diagnosis
  • Self-Injurious Behavior / psychology
  • Self-Injurious Behavior / therapy*
  • Skin / injuries*
  • Treatment Outcome