Adolescent self-mutilating behaviors: Experiential avoidance coupled with imitation?

Description:

Repetitive self-mutilation (RSM) has become increasingly prevalent among adolescents. Empirical research has pinpointed several correlates of this behavior, but the initiation and maintenance of RSM among adolescents are not well understood. The experiential avoidance model (EAM) proposes that self-mutilation is a behavior that allows for the avoidance or alteration of unwanted internal experiences, and that it is negatively reinforced with repetition. The current study explored the usefulness of the EAM as an explanatory theory for adolescent RSM, with the additional incorporation of issues of social context. Adolescents (N = 211) from three school-based samples completed self-report questionnaires. One-third of students reported at least one incident of purposeful, non-suicidal self-mutilation and 16% had engaged in self-mutilation repeatedly within the past 6 months. Both regression and group analyses indicated that adolescents who engage in RSM report greater psychological distress, a greater incidence of functionally equivalent behaviors, and greater exposure to self-mutilation among peers and/or in the media, when compared to their counterparts who have not engaged in RSM. Suicidal ideation/behaviors were consistently the strongest predictors of current self-mutilation behaviors. Clinical implications, limitations, and suggestions for future research are discussed.

Creator(s): Howe-Martin, Laura S.
Creation Date: August 2008
Partner(s):
UNT Libraries
Collection(s):
UNT Theses and Dissertations
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Total Uses: 515
Past 30 days: 16
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Publisher Info:
Publisher Name: University of North Texas
Place of Publication: Denton, Texas
Date(s):
  • Creation: August 2008
  • Digitized: September 19, 2008
Description:

Repetitive self-mutilation (RSM) has become increasingly prevalent among adolescents. Empirical research has pinpointed several correlates of this behavior, but the initiation and maintenance of RSM among adolescents are not well understood. The experiential avoidance model (EAM) proposes that self-mutilation is a behavior that allows for the avoidance or alteration of unwanted internal experiences, and that it is negatively reinforced with repetition. The current study explored the usefulness of the EAM as an explanatory theory for adolescent RSM, with the additional incorporation of issues of social context. Adolescents (N = 211) from three school-based samples completed self-report questionnaires. One-third of students reported at least one incident of purposeful, non-suicidal self-mutilation and 16% had engaged in self-mutilation repeatedly within the past 6 months. Both regression and group analyses indicated that adolescents who engage in RSM report greater psychological distress, a greater incidence of functionally equivalent behaviors, and greater exposure to self-mutilation among peers and/or in the media, when compared to their counterparts who have not engaged in RSM. Suicidal ideation/behaviors were consistently the strongest predictors of current self-mutilation behaviors. Clinical implications, limitations, and suggestions for future research are discussed.

Degree:
Level: Doctoral
Discipline: Clinical Psychology
Language(s):
Subject(s):
Keyword(s): self-injury | deliberate self-harm | Self-mutilation | experiential avoidance | adolescents
Contributor(s):
Partner:
UNT Libraries
Collection:
UNT Theses and Dissertations
Identifier:
  • OCLC: 326878498 |
  • ARK: ark:/67531/metadc9087
Resource Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Format: Text
Rights:
Access: Public
License: Copyright
Holder: Howe-Martin, Laura S.
Statement: Copyright is held by the author, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.