JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Excoriation (skin-picking) disorder in adults: a cross-cultural survey of Israeli Jewish and Arab samples.

OBJECTIVE: We sought to estimate the lifetime prevalence of Excoriation (Skin-Picking) Disorder (SPD) in the Israeli adult population as a whole and compare SPD prevalence in the Jewish and Arab communities. We also explored demographic, medical and psychological correlates of SPD diagnosis.

METHODS: Questionnaires and scales screening for SPD, and assessing the severity of perceived stress, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), alcohol use, illicit drug use, and medical disorders were completed in a sample of 2145 adults attending medical settings.

RESULTS: The lifetime prevalence of SPD was 5.4% in the total sample; it did not differ between genders or within Jewish and Arab subsamples. Severity of depression (p<0.001), OCD (p<0.001) and perceived stress (p=<0.001) were greater in the SPD positive sample. Similarly, diagnoses of BDD (p=0.02) and generalized anxiety (p=0.03) were significantly more common in the SPD-positive respondents. Alcohol use and illicit substance use were significantly more common among SPD positive respondents in the total sample (both p's=0.01) and the Jewish subsample (p=0.03 and p=0.02, respectively). Hypothyroidism was more prevalent in the SPD-positive Jewish subsample (p=0.02). In the total sample, diabetes mellitus was more common in women than in men (p=0.04).

CONCLUSION: Lifetime SPD appears to be relatively common in Israeli adults and associated with other mental disorders. Differences in the self-reported medical and psychiatric comorbidities between the Jewish and Arab subsamples suggest the possibility of cross-cultural variation in the correlates of this disorder.

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