Predictors of comorbid eating disorders and association with other obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders in trichotillomania

Compr Psychiatry. 2017 Oct;78:1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.comppsych.2017.06.008. Epub 2017 Jun 21.


Trichotillomania (TTM) and eating disorders (ED) share many phenomenological similarities, including ritualized compulsive behaviors. Given this, and that comorbid EDs may represent additional functional burden to hair pullers, we sought to identify factors that predict diagnosis of an ED in a TTM population. Subjects included 555 adult females (age range 18-65) with DSM-IV-TR TTM or chronic hair pullers recruited from multiple sites. 7.2% (N=40) of our TTM subjects met criteria for an ED in their lifetime. In univariable regression analysis, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS) worst-ever compulsion and total scores, certain obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders, anxiety disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and substance disorder all met the pre-specified criteria for inclusion in the multivariable analysis. In the final multivariable model, diagnosis of OCD (OR: 5.68, 95% CI: 2.2-15.0) and diagnosis of an additional body-focused repetitive behavior disorder (BFRB) (OR: 2.69, 95% CI: 1.1-6.8) were both associated with increased risk of ED in TTM. Overall, our results provide further support of the relatedness between ED and TTM. This finding highlights the importance of assessing for comorbid OCD and additional BFRBs in those with TTM. Future research is needed to identify additional predictors of comorbid disorders and to better understand the complex relationships between BFRBs, OCD and EDs.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / epidemiology*
  • Comorbidity
  • Compulsive Personality Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • South Africa / epidemiology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Trichotillomania / epidemiology*
  • United States / epidemiology