Psychological effects of androgenetic alopecia on women: comparisons with balding men and with female control subjects

J Am Acad Dermatol. 1993 Oct;29(4):568-75. doi: 10.1016/0190-9622(93)70223-g.


Background: Several studies have examined the psychological impact of androgenetic alopecia on men but scientific evidence is absent regarding its effects on women.

Objective: Our purpose was to determine the psychosocial sequelae of androgenetic alopecia in women and, comparatively, in men.

Methods: Subjects were newly referred patients with androgenetic alopecia (96 women and 60 men) and 56 female control patients. Subjects completed standardized questionnaires to assess their psychological reactions to their respective conditions and to measure body image, personality, and adjustment.

Results: Androgenetic alopecia clearly was a stressful experience for both sexes, but substantially more distressing for women. Relative to control subjects, women with androgenetic alopecia possessed a more negative body image and a pattern of less adaptive functioning. Specific correlates of the adversity of patients' hair-loss experiences were identified.

Conclusion: The results confirm the psychologically detrimental effects of androgenetic alopecia, especially on women. The implications for patient care are discussed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Alopecia / complications
  • Alopecia / psychology*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Body Image*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Self Concept*
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Adjustment*
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires