Response Inhibition Training for Individuals With Trichotillomania

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Brief Title

Response Inhibition Training for Individuals With Trichotillomania

Official Title

Testing the Feasibility of Response Inhibition Enhancement Training for Individuals With Trichotillomania

Brief Summary

      This study tests a computerized cognitive training program designed for young individuals
      with compulsive hair pulling (also known as trichotillomania;TTM). Research suggests that
      individuals with TTM are characterized by poor cognitive abilities to suppress irrelevant
      response. This ability is called response inhibition. The current study tests a cognitive
      training program designed to improve individuals' cognitive abilities of response inhibition
      through a 8-session computerized training program. The investigators hypothesize that those
      who complete the response inhibition training program will show a greater reduction in hair
      pulling symptoms, compared to those assigned to a waitlist group.

Detailed Description

      Despite ongoing research into causes and treatments for trichotillomania, it remains poorly
      understood, underdiagnosed and inadequately treated. Further, treatment of TTM in children
      has received little attention, and only recently have the investigators begun to see research
      in pediatric trich. One possible way of progressing treatment development for pediatric trich
      is to clarify the nature of inhibitory control processes implicated in TTM and to develop a
      treatment that specifically targets these implicated cognitive processes. Examples of this
      strategy are found in the increasing availability of translational research that has
      demonstrated the therapeutic benefits of computerized cognitive training programs (CTPs) in
      modifying problematic cognitive processes in numerous psychiatric conditions. The objective
      of this study is to examine the feasibility of CTP for enhancing response inhibition
      capabilities among individuals with trich, thereby reducing TTM symptoms.

      To this end, young individuals aged between 12 and 18 with TTM will be randomly assigned to
      the CTP condition vs. a wait-list condition. Participants in the CTP condition will receive
      eight 30-min training sessions over a 4-week period and will be assessed at three time
      points. Participants in the wait-list will be evaluated at baseline and post-training
      assessments, and will be allowed to receive the CTP after completing the post-training
      assessment. Wait-list controls who choose to cross over to the CTP condition will also
      provide a small replication sample to test the effect of our response inhibition training.

      There are three primary implications from this work. First, demonstrating successful
      enhancement in response inhibition by our proposed CTP is expected to create ample
      opportunities for clinical research not only on TTM, but also for numerous other psychiatric
      problems in which poor response inhibition is implicated (e.g., Chronic Skin Picking,
      Tourette Syndrome, OCD, and ADHD).

      This research has the potential to produce a highly cost-efficient self-administered
      intervention for TTM. Upon establishing efficacy, CTPs may be easily integrated into various
      contexts, examples include CTPs as an adjunctive intervention to existing behavioral and/or
      pharmacological treatments, an instrument to identify and help at-risk individuals for
      preventative training, a stand-alone short-term intervention, and a remote web-based
      self-help intervention for individuals who have no easy access to treatment resources or are
      reluctant to seek treatment.

Study Type


Primary Outcome

NIMH Trichotillomania Severity and Impairment Rating Scale

Secondary Outcome

 Clinical Global Impression (CGI)




Response Inhibition Training Program

Study Arms / Comparison Groups

 Computerized response inhibition training
Description:  Participants in this condition receive 8 computerized training sessions over a 4 week period.


* 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 2010

Completion Date

September 2013

Primary Completion Date

September 2013

Eligibility Criteria

        Inclusion Criteria:

          -  Aged between 9 and 17

          -  A primary diagnosis of Trichotillomania based on DSM-IV criteria (using
             Trichotillomania Diagnostic Interview)

        Exclusion Criteria:

          -  those who are actively psychotic

          -  those who have visual impairments that prevent them from performing computer tasks

          -  those who present developmental disabilities and/or low overall IQ estimated to be
             below low average (< 79)

          -  those whose medication status has not been stable

          -  those who present with past/current substance abuse/dependence problems




9 Years - 17 Years

Accepts Healthy Volunteers



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Location Countries

United States

Location Countries

United States

Administrative Informations



Organization ID

TLC 2010 Lee

Responsible Party

Principal Investigator

Study Sponsor

University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee


 Trichotillomania Learning Center

Study Sponsor

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Verification Date

January 2014