What is the function of nail biting: an analog assessment study
Williams, T. I., Rose, R. and Chisholm, S. (2007) What is the function of nail biting: an analog assessment study. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 45 (5). pp. 989-995. ISSN 0005-7967
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.brat.2006.07.013
Objective: To compare the frequency of nail biting in 4 settings (interventions) designed to elicit the functions of nail biting and to compare the results with a self-report questionnaire about the functions of nail biting. Design: Randomised allocation of participants to order of conditions. Setting: University Psychology Department. Subjects: Forty undergraduates who reported biting their nails. Interventions: Left alone (boredom), solving maths problems (frustration), reprimanded for nail biting (contingent attention), continuous conversation (noncontingent attention). Main Outcome measures: Number of times the undergraduates bit their nails. Results: Nail biting occurred most often in two conditions, boredom and frustration. Conclusion: Nail biting in young adults occurs as a result of boredom or working on difficult problems, which may reflect a particular emotional state. It occurs least often when people are engaged in social interaction or when they are reprimanded for the behavior. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.