Repetitive Nonsuicidal Self-Injury as Experiential Avoidance Among a Community Sample of Adolescents

Laura S. Howe-Martin, Amy R. Murrell, Charles A. Guarnaccia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: This study examined the relationship between experiential avoidance, functionally equivalent behaviors, and repetitive nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI/RNSSI) among adolescents. Method: Self-report questionnaires from adolescents (N = 211) from 3 school-based samples were employed to assess three forms of experiential avoidance (thought suppression, alexithymia, and avoidance/cognitive fusion), various aspects of self-mutilating behaviors, and the existence of functionally equivalent behaviors (disordered eating, substance abuse, suicidal ideation/behaviors). Results: Results indicated one third of participants reported a history of NSSI and 16% reported engaging in RNSSI in the past 6 months. Female adolescents were twice as likely as males to report a history of RNSSI. Unwanted inner experiences, thought suppression, and alexithymia differentiated adolescents with a history of NSSI from their counterparts. Functionally equivalent behaviors occurred more frequently among those with a history of NSSI and increased in severity as NSSI increased, particularly suicidal ideation and behaviors. However, results for patterns of avoidance were not as consistent for males as females, which questions the broad application of this model. Conclusions: NSSI continues to be surprisingly common among adolescents in the community. NSSI, particularly repetitive forms, appears to be strongly related to common forms of experiential avoidance, moreso for female adolescents. Results also illustrate the importance of conceptualizing and treating self-injury as a form of experiential avoidance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)809-829
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychology
Volume68
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2012

Fingerprint

Wounds and Injuries
Suicidal Ideation
Affective Symptoms
Feeding Behavior
Self Report
Substance-Related Disorders
Self-injury
Avoidance
History
Alexithymia
Suppression

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Experiential avoidance
  • Nonsuicidal self-injury
  • Psychological distress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Repetitive Nonsuicidal Self-Injury as Experiential Avoidance Among a Community Sample of Adolescents. / Howe-Martin, Laura S.; Murrell, Amy R.; Guarnaccia, Charles A.

In: Journal of Clinical Psychology, Vol. 68, No. 7, 07.2012, p. 809-829.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{89247f4739834702aac2ccd803efdd73,
title = "Repetitive Nonsuicidal Self-Injury as Experiential Avoidance Among a Community Sample of Adolescents",
abstract = "Objective: This study examined the relationship between experiential avoidance, functionally equivalent behaviors, and repetitive nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI/RNSSI) among adolescents. Method: Self-report questionnaires from adolescents (N = 211) from 3 school-based samples were employed to assess three forms of experiential avoidance (thought suppression, alexithymia, and avoidance/cognitive fusion), various aspects of self-mutilating behaviors, and the existence of functionally equivalent behaviors (disordered eating, substance abuse, suicidal ideation/behaviors). Results: Results indicated one third of participants reported a history of NSSI and 16{\%} reported engaging in RNSSI in the past 6 months. Female adolescents were twice as likely as males to report a history of RNSSI. Unwanted inner experiences, thought suppression, and alexithymia differentiated adolescents with a history of NSSI from their counterparts. Functionally equivalent behaviors occurred more frequently among those with a history of NSSI and increased in severity as NSSI increased, particularly suicidal ideation and behaviors. However, results for patterns of avoidance were not as consistent for males as females, which questions the broad application of this model. Conclusions: NSSI continues to be surprisingly common among adolescents in the community. NSSI, particularly repetitive forms, appears to be strongly related to common forms of experiential avoidance, moreso for female adolescents. Results also illustrate the importance of conceptualizing and treating self-injury as a form of experiential avoidance.",
keywords = "Adolescents, Experiential avoidance, Nonsuicidal self-injury, Psychological distress",
author = "Howe-Martin, {Laura S.} and Murrell, {Amy R.} and Guarnaccia, {Charles A.}",
year = "2012",
month = "7",
doi = "10.1002/jclp.21868",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "68",
pages = "809--829",
journal = "Journal of Clinical Psychology",
issn = "0021-9762",
publisher = "John Wiley and Sons Inc.",
number = "7",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Repetitive Nonsuicidal Self-Injury as Experiential Avoidance Among a Community Sample of Adolescents

AU - Howe-Martin, Laura S.

AU - Murrell, Amy R.

AU - Guarnaccia, Charles A.

PY - 2012/7

Y1 - 2012/7

N2 - Objective: This study examined the relationship between experiential avoidance, functionally equivalent behaviors, and repetitive nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI/RNSSI) among adolescents. Method: Self-report questionnaires from adolescents (N = 211) from 3 school-based samples were employed to assess three forms of experiential avoidance (thought suppression, alexithymia, and avoidance/cognitive fusion), various aspects of self-mutilating behaviors, and the existence of functionally equivalent behaviors (disordered eating, substance abuse, suicidal ideation/behaviors). Results: Results indicated one third of participants reported a history of NSSI and 16% reported engaging in RNSSI in the past 6 months. Female adolescents were twice as likely as males to report a history of RNSSI. Unwanted inner experiences, thought suppression, and alexithymia differentiated adolescents with a history of NSSI from their counterparts. Functionally equivalent behaviors occurred more frequently among those with a history of NSSI and increased in severity as NSSI increased, particularly suicidal ideation and behaviors. However, results for patterns of avoidance were not as consistent for males as females, which questions the broad application of this model. Conclusions: NSSI continues to be surprisingly common among adolescents in the community. NSSI, particularly repetitive forms, appears to be strongly related to common forms of experiential avoidance, moreso for female adolescents. Results also illustrate the importance of conceptualizing and treating self-injury as a form of experiential avoidance.

AB - Objective: This study examined the relationship between experiential avoidance, functionally equivalent behaviors, and repetitive nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI/RNSSI) among adolescents. Method: Self-report questionnaires from adolescents (N = 211) from 3 school-based samples were employed to assess three forms of experiential avoidance (thought suppression, alexithymia, and avoidance/cognitive fusion), various aspects of self-mutilating behaviors, and the existence of functionally equivalent behaviors (disordered eating, substance abuse, suicidal ideation/behaviors). Results: Results indicated one third of participants reported a history of NSSI and 16% reported engaging in RNSSI in the past 6 months. Female adolescents were twice as likely as males to report a history of RNSSI. Unwanted inner experiences, thought suppression, and alexithymia differentiated adolescents with a history of NSSI from their counterparts. Functionally equivalent behaviors occurred more frequently among those with a history of NSSI and increased in severity as NSSI increased, particularly suicidal ideation and behaviors. However, results for patterns of avoidance were not as consistent for males as females, which questions the broad application of this model. Conclusions: NSSI continues to be surprisingly common among adolescents in the community. NSSI, particularly repetitive forms, appears to be strongly related to common forms of experiential avoidance, moreso for female adolescents. Results also illustrate the importance of conceptualizing and treating self-injury as a form of experiential avoidance.

KW - Adolescents

KW - Experiential avoidance

KW - Nonsuicidal self-injury

KW - Psychological distress

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84862521902&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84862521902&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1002/jclp.21868

DO - 10.1002/jclp.21868

M3 - Article

C2 - 22589002

AN - SCOPUS:84862521902

VL - 68

SP - 809

EP - 829

JO - Journal of Clinical Psychology

JF - Journal of Clinical Psychology

SN - 0021-9762

IS - 7

ER -