Prevalence of nail-biting in children and its association with mental health in Karachi, Pakistan

Introduction: The crossing of digit from an individual’s mouth known as onychophagia or nail biting. Nail-biting is not a life-threatening condition. However, the border between its healthy and unhealthy associations still need conclusive establishment. Objectives: To determine the prevalence of nail-biting among children in Karachi, Pakistan and its association with pediatric mental health and behavioral disorders. Methodology: Sample size was parents of 171 children between the ages 4-10 was selected by convenience sampling. Data collection was conducted with a use of questionnaire in two hospitals of Karachi, Pakistan. All participants of the study were explained the purpose of the study and written consent was obtained. Results: The overall prevalence of nail-biting in the sample was 39.2%. The prevalence in boys and girls was not statistically significant (P = 0.06). The mean total SDQ score was 15.3 (SD = 5.3) and the mean prosocial score was 6.8 (SD = 2.2). The comparison of the effect of a child’s schooling neither showed any significant effect on nail-biting frequency (P = 0.093) nor on SDQ score (P = 0.845). Conclusion: To conclude more research should be done on the importance of nail biting in children, parents and pediatricians alike should pay special attention to children that bite their nails. Read More …