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Original Research

A Preliminary Survey of Rhinotillexomania in an Adolescent Sample

Chittaranjan Andrade and B. S. Srihari

Published: June 1, 2001

Article Abstract

Background: Rhinotillexomania is a recentterm coined to describe compulsive nose picking. There is littleworld literature on nose-picking behavior in the generalpopulation.

Method: We studied nose-picking behavior in asample of 200 adolescents from 4 urban schools.

Results: Almost the entire sample admitted tonose picking, with a median frequency of 4 times per day; thefrequency was > 20 times per day in 7.6% of the sample. Nearly17% of subjects considered that they had a serious nose-pickingproblem. Other somatic habits such as nail biting, scratching ina specific spot, or pulling out of hair were also common; 3 ormore such behaviors were simultaneously present in 14.2% of thesample, only in males. Occasional nose bleeds complicating nosepicking occurred in 25% of subjects. Several interesting findingsin specific categories of nose pickers were identified.

Conclusion: Nose picking is common inadolescents. It is often associated with other habitualbehaviors. Nose picking may merit closer epidemiologic andnosologic scrutiny.

Volume: 62

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