Examining Behavior Therapy for Trichotillomania in Children and Adolescents

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Brief Title

Examining Behavior Therapy for Trichotillomania in Children and Adolescents

Official Title

Behavior Therapy for Pediatric Trichotillomania

Brief Summary

      This study will evaluate a treatment for trichotillomania, or compulsive hair pulling, in
      children and adolescents.

Detailed Description

      Trichotillomania (TTM) is a chronic impulse control disorder that causes people to pull out
      their own hair. TTM typically develops in late childhood or early adolescence. It has been
      suggested that, like with obsessive-compulsive disorder, early identification and treatment
      of TTM might prevent the disorder and other co-occurring disorders in adults. The researchers
      in this study have developed the first treatment for TTM to target children and adolescents.
      Preliminary trials of this treatment, called behavior therapy (BT), indicate efficacy. This
      study is a larger, more rigorous examination of whether BT can successfully treat children
      and adolescents with TTM.

      Participation in this study will be divided into two phases, each lasting 8 weeks. Follow-up
      visits will occur 3 and 6 months after completing treatment. In Phase 1, participants will be
      randomly assigned to receive either BT or supportive counseling (SC) for their TTM. Both
      groups of participants will complete eight weekly study visits. Those receiving BT will be
      encouraged to identify situations in which hair pulling is likely to occur and use behavioral
      techniques to resist urges to pull their hair. BT will also involve self-monitoring and
      homework throughout the week. Those receiving SC will discuss ways to minimize interference
      of hair pulling with everyday life and receive education and emotional support from a study
      therapist-but will not be taught specific behavioral techniques. After 8 weeks, participants
      will be evaluated to determine whether treatment is helping them. If participants are
      receiving BT and showing reduction in symptoms, they will continue to Phase 2, which involves
      four maintenance sessions of BT over 8 weeks. If participants receiving BT are not responding
      to treatment, they will be given referrals to other services. Participants receiving SC will
      end their participation after 8 weeks, and those not responding to treatment will be offered

      Study assessments will be completed at baseline, after Phase 1, after Phase 2, and at 3- and
      6-month follow-ups. These assessments will include a clinical interview, questionnaires about
      symptoms, and family assessment measures.

Study Type


Primary Outcome

Clinical Global Impression Scale (CGIS)




Behavior Therapy

Study Arms / Comparison Groups

 Behavior Therapy
Description:  Participants will receive behavior therapy during Phases 1 and 2.


* Includes publications given by the data provider as well as publications identified by National Clinical Trials Identifier (NCT ID) in Medline.

Recruitment Information

Recruitment Status


Estimated Enrollment


Start Date

October 2008

Completion Date

March 26, 2014

Primary Completion Date

March 26, 2014

Eligibility Criteria

        Inclusion Criteria:

          -  Diagnosis or symptoms of trichotillomania

          -  Presence of stable parent or guardian

        Exclusion Criteria:

          -  Presence of another primary or co-primary psychiatric disorder that requires
             initiation of different active current treatment

          -  Current use of psychotropic medication (participants may be able to stop taking
             medications to start with study)




10 Years - 17 Years

Accepts Healthy Volunteers



Martin E. Franklin, PhD, , 

Location Countries

United States

Location Countries

United States

Administrative Informations



Organization ID


Secondary IDs


Responsible Party


Study Sponsor

University of Pennsylvania


 National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

Study Sponsor

Martin E. Franklin, PhD, Principal Investigator, University of Pennsylvania

Verification Date

July 2017