Disentangling family life and hair pulling: Trichotillomania and relatedness

Bridget Bradley, Stefan Ecks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Trichotillomania (hair pulling) remains a relatively unknown form of bodyfocused repetitive behavior (BFRB). Sufferers tend to conceal both the action and its effects from others because of stigmatization, which is strong in both public and domestic spheres. Negative responses from close family members can add significantly to the suffering. Based on fieldwork in the United Kingdom and United States, we explore how hair pulling troubles ties even among close family members. We show why ethnographic methods reveal impacts of hair pulling that structured assessments do not yet capture and argue for a more nuanced study of BFRBs through anthropologies of relatedness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)568-581
JournalMedical Anthropology
Issue number7
Early online date12 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Hair pulling
  • Trichotillomania
  • Relatedness
  • Family relations
  • United Kingdom
  • United States


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