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Get bored easily? You are prone to chronic hair-pulling

Finding a way to reduce your boredom or frustration can help you push aside hair-pulling and other body-focused repetitive behaviour, new research says.

Toronto: Finding a way to reduce your boredom or frustration can help you push aside hair-pulling and other body-focused repetitive behaviour, new research says.

Individuals who get easily bored, frustrated or impatient are more inclined to develop body-focused repetitive behaviors, the findings showed.

"Chronic hair-pulling, skin-picking disorder and nail-biting and various other habits are known as body-focused repetitive behaviours," said principal investigator Kieron O'Connor from University of Montreal.

Although these behaviours can induce important distress, they also seem to satisfy an urge and deliver some form of reward.

"We believe that individuals with these repetitive behaviours maybe perfectionistic, meaning that they are unable to relax and to perform task at a 'normal' pace," O'Connor noted.

"They are therefore prone to frustration, impatience, and dissatisfaction when they do not reach their goals. They also experience greater levels of boredom," he pointed out.

The researchers came to these conclusions by working with 48 study participants, half of whom suffered these repetitive behaviours and half of whom did not.

The participants were individually exposed to four experimental situations at the research centre, each one designed to provoke a different feeling: stress, relaxation, frustration and boredom.

Individuals with a history of body-focussed repetitive behaviours reported a greater urge to engage in these behaviours than controls during the boredom and frustration phases of the experiment, but not in the relaxation situation.

"The findings suggest that individuals suffering from body-focussed repetitive behaviours could benefit from treatments designed to reduce frustration and boredom and to modify perfectionist beliefs," first author of the study Sarah Roberts, psychologist from MindSpace Clinic in Montreal, added.

The study appeared in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry.

 

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