What Predicts Ongoing Nonsuicidal Self-Injury? A Comparison Between Persistent and Ceased Self-Injury in Emerging Adults

Glenn Kiekens, Penelope Hasking, Ronny Bruffaerts, Laurence Claes, Imke Baetens, Mark Boyes, Philippe Mortier, Koen Demyttenaere, Janis Whitlock

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26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Although nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) peaks in adolescence, a significant proportion of young people continue to self-injure into emerging adulthood. Yet, little is known about factors prospectively associated with persistent NSSI. Using data from a 3-year longitudinal study (n = 1466), we compared 51 emerging adults (67.3% female; average age, 20.0 years) who continued to self-injure from adolescence and 50 emerging adults (83.7% female; average age, 20.3 years) who had ceased NSSI, on a broad range of psychosocial factors. More frequent NSSI, use of a greater number of methods, specific NSSI functions, academic and emotional distress, and lack of perceived emotion regulatory capability differentiated emerging adults who continued with NSSI and those who had ceased the behavior. Further, the relationships between social support, life satisfaction, and NSSI were mediated by perceived ability to regulate emotion. Findings from this study point to the role of personal belief in the ability to effectively regulate emotion in the cessation of NSSI. Future research directions and clinical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)762-770
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Nervous and Mental Disease
Volume205
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017

Keywords

  • cessation
  • emerging adulthood
  • emotion regulatory capability
  • Key Words Nonsuicidal self-injury
  • persistence

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