Send to

Choose Destination
J Anxiety Disord. 2009 Apr;23(3):314-9. doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2009.01.008. Epub 2009 Jan 23.

Skin picking behaviors: An examination of the prevalence and severity in a community sample.

Author information

Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of Southern California, 1540 Alcazar Street, CHP 133, Los Angeles, CA 90089-9003, USA.


Body-focused repetitive behaviors such as skin picking have gained recent attention in the psychiatric literature. Prevalence of skin picking has not been well researched and is difficult to estimate; however, consequences of such behaviors can include severe medical complications and impaired social and occupational functioning. Given this, this study examined: (1) the prevalence and severity of skin picking in a nonclinical community sample, and (2) associations between skin picking and other measures of psychological functioning. Three hundred and fifty-four participants completed measures of psychological functioning and skin picking frequency and severity. A total of 62.7% endorsed some form of skin picking and 5.4% reported clinical levels of skin picking and associated distress/impact. Direct associations were found between skin picking and depressive, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive symptoms, which may support the emotional regulation model of pathological skin picking. To establish proper diagnostic classification of pathological skin picking and optimize treatment planning and outcome, further investigation of functional relationships between skin picking and affective distress is needed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for eScholarship, California Digital Library, University of California
Loading ...
Support Center