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Non-suicidal self-injury in adolescents: Support for a specific distress – function relationship.

Zetterqvist, Maria; Lundh, Lars-Gunnar LU and Svedin, Carl Göran LU (2014) In Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health 8(23).
Abstract
Background: This study has investigated the specific relationship between childhood adversities, individual trauma

symptoms and the functions of non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI). The aim was to examine whether different

self-reported adverse experiences and trauma symptoms predict the need to engage in NSSI, either to regulate

emotions or to communicate with and influence others.

Method: The participants were a community sample of 816 adolescents aged 15–17 years with NSSI. Hierarchical

multiple regression was used, controlling for NSSI frequency and gender. The dependent variables were the

automatic and social functions of NSSI, respectively. The predictors entered in the model were... (More)
Background: This study has investigated the specific relationship between childhood adversities, individual trauma

symptoms and the functions of non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI). The aim was to examine whether different

self-reported adverse experiences and trauma symptoms predict the need to engage in NSSI, either to regulate

emotions or to communicate with and influence others.

Method: The participants were a community sample of 816 adolescents aged 15–17 years with NSSI. Hierarchical

multiple regression was used, controlling for NSSI frequency and gender. The dependent variables were the

automatic and social functions of NSSI, respectively. The predictors entered in the model were several different

maltreatment and adversity experiences as well as individual trauma symptoms. Mediation analyses were also

performed using the bootstrapping method with bias-corrected confidence estimates.

Results: Frequency of NSSI, gender (female), emotional abuse, prolonged illness or handicap during upbringing

and symptoms of depression uniquely predicted the automatic functions of NSSI in the final regression model, but

not the social functions. Symptoms of anxiety uniquely predicted social but not automatic functions. Having

experienced physical abuse, having made a suicide attempt and symptoms of dissociation were significant

predictors in both final models. The model for automatic functions explained more of the variance (62%) than the

social model (28%). The relationship between childhood emotional, physical and sexual abuse and performing NSSI

for automatic reasons was mediated by symptoms of depression and dissociation. The relationship between

physical abuse and the social functions of NSSI was mediated by symptoms of anxiety and dissociation.

Conclusions: It is important to understand the specific context in which NSSI has developed and is maintained.

Experiences of emotional abuse and symptoms of depression could guide clinical work in the direction of emotion

regulation skills since in this study these variables were uniquely associated with the need to engage in NSSI to

regulate emotions, to self-punish or to generate feelings. The presence of physical abuse, a suicide attempt and

symptoms of dissociation could alert clinicians to a broad treatment approach since they were associated with

performing NSSI to regulate both social and automatic experiences. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
trauma symptoms, adverse life events, function, non-suicidal self-injury, adolescents
in
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health
volume
8
issue
23
publisher
BioMed Central
external identifiers
  • scopus:84905729000
ISSN
1753-2000
DOI
10.1186/1753-2000-8-23
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
56e6bccb-804b-4262-9948-f753c1fc8d32 (old id 4645407)
alternative location
http://www.capmh.com/content/8/1/23
date added to LUP
2014-09-11 08:43:48
date last changed
2017-09-24 04:04:40
@article{56e6bccb-804b-4262-9948-f753c1fc8d32,
  abstract     = {Background: This study has investigated the specific relationship between childhood adversities, individual trauma<br/><br>
symptoms and the functions of non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI). The aim was to examine whether different<br/><br>
self-reported adverse experiences and trauma symptoms predict the need to engage in NSSI, either to regulate<br/><br>
emotions or to communicate with and influence others.<br/><br>
Method: The participants were a community sample of 816 adolescents aged 15–17 years with NSSI. Hierarchical<br/><br>
multiple regression was used, controlling for NSSI frequency and gender. The dependent variables were the<br/><br>
automatic and social functions of NSSI, respectively. The predictors entered in the model were several different<br/><br>
maltreatment and adversity experiences as well as individual trauma symptoms. Mediation analyses were also<br/><br>
performed using the bootstrapping method with bias-corrected confidence estimates.<br/><br>
Results: Frequency of NSSI, gender (female), emotional abuse, prolonged illness or handicap during upbringing<br/><br>
and symptoms of depression uniquely predicted the automatic functions of NSSI in the final regression model, but<br/><br>
not the social functions. Symptoms of anxiety uniquely predicted social but not automatic functions. Having<br/><br>
experienced physical abuse, having made a suicide attempt and symptoms of dissociation were significant<br/><br>
predictors in both final models. The model for automatic functions explained more of the variance (62%) than the<br/><br>
social model (28%). The relationship between childhood emotional, physical and sexual abuse and performing NSSI<br/><br>
for automatic reasons was mediated by symptoms of depression and dissociation. The relationship between<br/><br>
physical abuse and the social functions of NSSI was mediated by symptoms of anxiety and dissociation.<br/><br>
Conclusions: It is important to understand the specific context in which NSSI has developed and is maintained.<br/><br>
Experiences of emotional abuse and symptoms of depression could guide clinical work in the direction of emotion<br/><br>
regulation skills since in this study these variables were uniquely associated with the need to engage in NSSI to<br/><br>
regulate emotions, to self-punish or to generate feelings. The presence of physical abuse, a suicide attempt and<br/><br>
symptoms of dissociation could alert clinicians to a broad treatment approach since they were associated with<br/><br>
performing NSSI to regulate both social and automatic experiences.},
  author       = {Zetterqvist, Maria and Lundh, Lars-Gunnar and Svedin, Carl Göran},
  issn         = {1753-2000},
  keyword      = {trauma symptoms,adverse life events,function,non-suicidal self-injury,adolescents},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {23},
  publisher    = {BioMed Central},
  series       = {Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health},
  title        = {Non-suicidal self-injury in adolescents: Support for a specific distress – function relationship.},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1753-2000-8-23},
  volume       = {8},
  year         = {2014},
}