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Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry

Print version ISSN 1516-4446On-line version ISSN 1809-452X


KEUTHEN, Nancy J. et al. Trichotillomania and personality traits from the five-factor model. Rev. Bras. Psiquiatr. [online]. 2015, vol.37, n.4, pp.317-324.  Epub Sep 08, 2015. ISSN 1809-452X.


To examine whether personality traits have predictive validity for trichotillomania (TTM) diagnosis, pulling severity and control, and hair pulling style.


In study 1, logistic regression was used with TTM cases (n=54) and controls (n=25) to determine if NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI) personality domains predicted TTM case vs. control classification. In study 2, hierarchical multiple regression was used with TTM cases (n=164) to determine whether NEO-FFI personality domains predicted hair pulling severity and control as well as focused and automatic pulling styles.


TTM case vs. control status was predicted by NEO-FFI neuroticism. Every 1-point increase in neuroticism scores resulted in a 10% greater chance of TTM diagnosis. Higher neuroticism, higher openness, and lower agreeableness were associated with greater pulling severity. Higher neuroticism was also associated with less control over hair pulling. Higher neuroticism and lower openness were associated with greater focused pulling. None of the personality domains predicted automatic hair pulling.


Personality traits, especially neuroticism, can predict TTM diagnosis, hair pulling severity and control, and the focused style of pulling. None of the personality traits predicted automatic pulling. Longitudinal studies are needed to determine whether personality variables predispose to TTM onset, impact disorder course, and/or result from hair pulling behavior.

Keywords : Trichotillomania; personality; comorbidity.

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