Category: Suicide and Self-Injury

Symposium

Llifetime Frequency Versus Number of Methods Used in the Consideration of Nonsuicidal Self-Injury Severity

Friday, November 17
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
Location: Cobalt 502, Level 5, Cobalt Level

Keywords: Self-Injury | Statistics
Presentation Type: Symposium

The identification of risk factors for non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) has become a focus of recent research as the short-term and long-term negative impact of NSSI has become increasingly evident. A large majority of this literature has focused on identifying risk factors for NSSI severity, often conceptualized as either NSSI frequency or number of NSSI methods used (e.g., Paul et al., 2015). There is a strong literature supporting the positive association between NSSI frequency and number of NSSI methods (Ammerman, Burke, Alloy, & McCloskey, 2016; Anestis, Khazem, & Law, 2015; Glenn & Klonsky, 2011), and, further, both NSSI frequency and number of methods employed are significant correlates of suicidal behavior (Victor & Klonsky, 2014). Despite the significance of NSSI frequency and number of NSSI methods used, there is little evidence of how these characteristics may relate to psychological correlates. The current study aimed to examine these relationships through the use of exploratory data mining.


Participants were 4,889 undergraduate students who completed measures of NSSI, suicidal thoughts and behaviors, depressive symptomatology, borderline personality disorder features, and childhood abuse, which were determined as important risk factors based on a recent meta-analysis (Fox et al., 2016). Results from the exploratory data mining technique, structural equation modeling trees, demonstrated a first split between individuals with 0 and 1 acts of lifetime NSSI. Among self-injurers, the second split occurred between 12 and 13 acts of lifetime NSSI. For those self-injurers with 12 or less acts of lifetime NSSI, there a split between 5 and 6 acts of lifetime NSSI acts. For those self-injurers with 13 or more acts, the next split occurred between those with 4 and 5 methods of utilized NSSI. As such, the group with the highest factor scores on all latent risk variables were those self-injurers with 13 or more lifetime NSSI acts and used 5 or more NSSI methods.


Results of this study help to elucidate the relationship between NSSI frequency and number of NSSI methods used. Specifically, results suggest that NSSI frequency may be more important to consider as it relates psychological correlates (as evidenced by the first splits being based on NSSI frequency), but that to determine the highest risk group, number of NSSI methods does in fact play a role. These results have implications for how researchers conceptualize severe NSSI with traditionally used NSSI measures (e.g., a combination of frequency and methods) as indicated by identified risk factors. 

Brooke A. Ammerman

Graduate Student
Temple University

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Llifetime Frequency Versus Number of Methods Used in the Consideration of Nonsuicidal Self-Injury Severity



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