Self-harm reasons, goal achievement, and prediction of future self-harm intent.

Department of Psychology, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.
The Journal of nervous and mental disease (Impact Factor: 1.81). 05/2010; 198(5):362-9. DOI: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e3181da8500
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Self-harm may have several reasons, and these reasons may have corresponding implied goals. The current study examined reasons for self-harm and whether the a priori goals intended by these reasons were achieved. Fifty-seven individuals with a history of self-harm were recruited online and volunteered their time to complete a series of online questionnaires assessing past self-harm frequency, self-harm reasons, whether the goal associated with these reasons was achieved, and future self-harm intent. Reasons to reduce tension and dissociation associated with more past self-harm, a higher intent to self-harm again, and it was reported that the goals associated with reasons were achieved (i.e., these internal states were extinguished). Achievement of these goals (i.e., reported reductions in tension and dissociation) mediated the relation between corresponding self-harm reasons and intent to self-harm in the future. Findings support the view that self-harm is a maladaptive coping strategy and the reinforcement component of the experiential avoidance model of self-harm. Results have clinical implications and heuristic value for future research, which are discussed.

1 Follower
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) and suicidal self-injury (SSI) co-occur in adults. The purpose of the current study was to examine differences and similarities in NSSI and SSI in adult women with respect to (1) methods used and lethality of methods, (2) intent and impulsivity of act, (3) precipitating events, and (4) consequences. The data consist of variables pertaining to 46 self-injurious acts committed by 16 Finnish female participants and recorded using Suicide Attempt Self-Injury Interviews (SASII). The data were analyzed using variables weighted by the number of acts. This study found several differences as well as similarities between the acts of SSI and those of NSSI: (a) the respective acts differ in the methods used, in the lethality of the methods, and in the expectations of resulting lethality of the acts, (b) they further differ in the functions the respective acts serve and (c) in some of the precipitating events and consequences. The acts were similar in (d) impulsivity of act and (e) some of the precipitating events and consequences. Because both types of behavior can occur within the same individual, and due to the progressing evolution between them, a thorough assessment of both NSSI and SSI needs to be completed. More emphasis needs to be placed on both the assessment of social connections and interpersonal conflict as well as how it informs the treatment. Because the behavior studied is multifunctional and changing, its treatment too needs to be customized to the multiple and changing needs of the individual patients, as opposed to diagnostic tailored treatment.
    Nordic psychology 02/2015; 67(1):27-45. DOI:10.1080/19012276.2014.997784 · 0.18 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background Self-injury, a manifestation of severe psychological distress, is increased in cancer-bereaved youths. Little is known about the potential influence on the risk for self-injury of factors that could be clinically relevant to and modifiable by the health-care professionals involved in the care of the dying parent.Methods In a nationwide population-based anonymous study, 622 (73.1%) youths (aged 18–26) who, 6 to 9 years earlier at ages 13 to 16, had lost a parent to cancer answered study-specific questions about self-injury and factors related to the family and parental health care.ResultsUnivariable analyses showed that the risk for self-injury was increased among cancer-bereaved youths who reported poor family cohesion the years before (relative risk [RR], 3.4, 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.5–4.6) and after the loss (RR, 3.3, 95% CI, 2.4–4.4), distrust in the health care provided to the dying parent (RR, 1.7, 95% CI, 1.2–2.4), perceiving poor health-care efforts to cure the parent (RR 1.5, 95% CI, 1.1–2.1) and poor efforts to prevent suffering (RR, 1.6, 95% CI, 1.1–2.4), that at least one of their parents had been depressed or had troubles in life (RR, 1.5, CI, 1.1–2.1) and believing 3 days before the loss that the treatment would probably cure the parent (RR, 1.6, CI, 1.1–2.3). In the total multivariable models, only poor family cohesion before and after the loss remained statistically significantly associated with self-injury.Conclusion Poor family cohesion before and after the loss of a parent to cancer is associated with an increased risk of self-injury in teenage children. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    Psycho-Oncology 09/2014; 23(9). DOI:10.1002/pon.3515 · 4.04 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Many forms of human psychopathology are characterized by sustained negative emotional responses to threat and chronic behavioral avoidance, implicating avoidance as a potential transdiagnostic factor. Evidence from both nonhuman neurophysiological and human neuroimaging studies suggests a distributed frontal-limbic-striatal brain network supports avoidance. However, our understanding of the temporal dynamics of the network to sustained threat that prompts sustained avoidance is limited. To address this issue, seventeen adults were given extensive training on a modified free-operant avoidance task in which button pressing avoided money loss during a sustained threat period. Subsequently, subjects underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging while completing the avoidance task. In our regions of interest, we observed phasic, rather than sustained, activation during sustained threat in dorsolateral and inferior frontal regions, anterior and dorsal cingulate, ventral striatum and regions associated with emotion, including the amygdala, insula, substantia nigra and bed nucleus of the stria terminalis complex. Moreover, trait levels of experiential avoidance were negatively correlated with insula, hippocampal and amygdala activation. These findings suggest knowledge that one can consistently avoid aversive outcomes is not associated with decreased threat-related responses and that individuals with greater experiential avoidance exhibit reduced reactivity to initial threat. Implications for understanding brain mechanisms supporting human avoidance and psychological theories of avoidance are discussed.
    Behavioural brain research 10/2013; DOI:10.1016/j.bbr.2013.09.042 · 3.39 Impact Factor


Available from