Master of Science in Clinical Psychology

Clinical Psychology – Presentations

"Contributing risk factors in nonsuicidal self-injury in a college population"

by Daisy Cortes & Jamie D. Bedics

The deliberate alteration or destruction of body tissue without conscious suicidal intent is referred to as nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI; Favazza, 1998). Research indicates that 14-21% of high school students and 17-41% of undergraduates have reported participating in NSSI (Ross & Heath, 2002; Gratz, 2001; Paivio & McCulloch, 2004). Those who reported NSSI have been shown to have a heighten risk of suicide, negative interpersonal and intrapersonal relations, increasing feelings of shame, loneliness, and social isolation (Favazza, 1998; Leibenluft et al., 1987). Given the prevalence of NSSI and its association with comorbid psychopathology, NSSI and its contributing risk factors have become a widely studied topic of research. Independently, emotion dysregulation, emotion inexpressivity, thought suppression, and childhood maltreatment have each been established as significant predictors of NSSI (Gratz & Roemer, 2008; Gratz, 2006). The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between NSSI and four hypothesized contributing risk factors: emotion dysregulation, emotional inexpressivity, thought suppression and interpersonal relationships. We also sought to examine how these factors predict overall borderline symptom severity using the borderline symptom list (Bohus, Limberger, Frank, Kühler, & Stieglitz, 2007). In addition, little is known about the effects of current relationships on NSSI. The present study tested two hypotheses. The first hypothesis predicted that self-reported perceptions of early and current relationships that are critical and neglectful would be uniquely associated with increased NSSI. The second hypothesis predicted that emotion dysregulation would be the strongest predictor of NSSI, above emotion inexpressivity, thought suppression, and quality of past and current interpersonal relationships. A hierarchical regression analysis was conducting on a preliminary sample of 11 participants. Despite the small initial sample, results supported thought suppression techniques including punishment (ß = .83, p<.01) and distraction (ß = .69, p=.01) as unique predictors of borderline symptom severity, including NSSI, with the overall model reaching significance (R2 = .87, F (5, 5) = 6.58, p <.04). Data will continue to be collected through the spring 2012 to allow for more powerful tests and accurate estimates of the hypothesized relationships between our variables. Results will be discussed in the context of better understanding cognitive, interpersonal, and emotional models of self-­‐harm.

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