How reward and punishment are viewed by individuals experiencing trichotillomania according to revised reinforcement sensitivity theory

Slikboer, R, Rehm, I, Smillie, L, Rossell, S and Nedeljkovic, M 2019, 'How reward and punishment are viewed by individuals experiencing trichotillomania according to revised reinforcement sensitivity theory', Clinical Psychologist, vol. 23, no. 1, pp. 47-60.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title How reward and punishment are viewed by individuals experiencing trichotillomania according to revised reinforcement sensitivity theory
Author(s) Slikboer, R
Rehm, I
Smillie, L
Rossell, S
Nedeljkovic, M
Year 2019
Journal name Clinical Psychologist
Volume number 23
Issue number 1
Start page 47
End page 60
Total pages 14
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell
Abstract Objective: Improving our understanding of how reward and punishment are experienced by those with trichotillomania (TTM) may assist in the advancement of psychological interventions. The purpose of this study was to describe in detail the behaviours and experiences of relevance to individuals with TTM, with particular reference to reward and punishment. Methods: Qualitative, semi-structured interviews were conducted, recorded, and transcribed for analysis. Participants included 16 women with a mean age of 31.50 years and with clinically diagnosed TTM, the majority of whom were engaged in part-time work, had completed tertiary education, and were in a committed relationship. A theoretical thematic analysis, based on the behavioural activation system, behavioural inhibition system, fight, flight, freeze system, and constraint were used to organise a complex description of how reward and punishment are experienced. Results: Participants perceived themselves as generally highly sensitive to punishment, and distrustful and suspicious of positive and rewarding life experiences. Conclusions: Individuals with TTM need encouragement to find reward outside of hair-pulling behaviour. The rich, complex, and sometimes intricate descriptions given by participants may be useful to clinicians to help them understand and relate to clients. Particularly challenging was the separation of TTM, anxiety, and depression, leading to the suggestion of behavioural activation as a potential treatment, and topic for future research.
Subject Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology
Personality, Abilities and Assessment
Keyword(s) Cognition
Punishment
Reward
Treatment
Trichotillomania
DOI - identifier 10.1111/cp.12160
Copyright notice © 2018 The Australian Psychological Society
ISSN 1328-4207
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