This study will compare the effectiveness of cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) to a minimal
attention control (AC) condition for treatment of pediatric trichotillomania (TTM).
TTM is a persistent impulse control disorder in which the individual acts on urges to pull
out his or her own hair. Onset typically occurs by adolescence, and TTM is often associated
with significant functional impairment and distress. CBT is a type of psychotherapy designed
to change problematic behaviors and thinking. It includes self-monitoring of hair-pulling
urges and homework assignments to practice the use of cognitive and behavioral strategies.
Participants are assigned randomly to receive either CBT or AC for 8 weeks. Participants
assigned to CBT receive weekly 1-hour sessions of CBT for 8 weeks; participants assigned to
AC receive 6 telephone contacts and 2 in-person sessions for 8 weeks. After 8 weeks, CBT
participants who respond to treatment enter Phase II, which lasts an additional 8 weeks and
includes 4 in-person maintenance sessions. AC participants who are still symptomatic after 8
weeks are offered CBT.
- Primary diagnosis of Trichotillomania
- Minimum symptom duration of 6 months
- Presence of a stable parent or guardian
- Other primary psychiatric diagnosis
- Bipolar illness, pervasive developmental disorder, thought disorder, current major
- Concurrent psychotherapy
- Currently receiving psychotropic medications