Clarifying the Relationship between Trichotillomania and Anxiety

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Journal of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders



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Although research has consistently linked unidimensional anxiety with Trichotillomania (TTM) severity, the relationships between TTM severity and anxiety dimensions (i.e., cognitive and somatic anxiety) are unknown. This knowledge gap limits current TTM conceptualization and treatment. The current study examined these relationships with data collected from ninety-one adults who participated in a randomized clinical trial for TTM treatment. To examine whether the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI; Beck, Epstein, Brown, & Steer, 1988) could be used to measure multidimensional anxiety in TTM samples, we conducted a factor analysis. Results showed four emergent factors, including a cognitive factor and three somatic factors (neurophysiological, autonomic, and panic). Based on prior research, it was hypothesized that TTM severity would be related to the cognitive anxiety dimension and that psychological inflexibility would mediate the association. Hypotheses were not made regarding the relationship between TTM severity and somatic anxiety. Regression analyses indicated that only cognitive dimensions of anxiety predicted TTM severity and that psychological inflexibility mediated this relationship. Implications for the conceptualization and treatment of TTM are discussed.