Thursday, September 10, 2015

Characteristics of Nonsuicidal Self-Injury Associated with Suicidal Ideation: Evidence From a Clinical Sample of Youth

Nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) and suicidal ideation (SI) are both distressing and quite common, particularly in youth. Given the relationship between these two phenomena, it is crucial to learn how we can use information about NSSI to understand who is at greatest risk of suicidal thoughts. In this study, we investigated how characteristics of nonsuicidal self-injury related to SI among treatment-seeking adolescents and young adults.

Low severity methods of NSSI (e.g. banging) were more strongly associated with SI than high severity methods (e.g. breaking bones). SI was associated with intrapersonal (automatic) NSSI functions. SI was associated with some indices of NSSI severity, such as number of methods and urge for NSSI, but not with others, such as age of onset.

This study provides a valuable opportunity to expand our knowledge of suicide risk factors beyond those that may apply broadly to self-injurers and to non-injurers (e.g., depression, substance use) to NSSI-related factors that might be specifically predictive of suicidal thoughts among self-injurers. Findings inform clinical risk assessment of self-injurious youth, a population at high risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors, and provide further insight into the complex NSSI/suicide relationship.

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By: Sarah E. Victor1Denise Styer2 and Jason J. Washburn23*
1Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, 2136 West Mall, Vancouver V6T1Z4, BC, Canada
2Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital, 1650 Moon Lake Boulevard, Hoffman Estates 60169, IL, USA
3Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Abbott Hall Suite 1204, 710 N Lake Shore Drive, Chicago 60611, IL, USA

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