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

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

Date: August 2008
Creator: Howe-Martin, Laura S.
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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries
An Exploration of the Relationship between Worry and Other Verbal Phenomena

An Exploration of the Relationship between Worry and Other Verbal Phenomena

Date: May 2008
Creator: O'Brien, Karen M.
Description: This study hypothesized a direct relationship among three verbal phenomena: derived relational responding, verbal intelligence, and worry. It also hypothesized that experiential avoidance would mediate the relationship between derived relational responding and worry. Overall, results from this study failed to support a relationship between worry and the other two verbal phenomena, however, results did support a relationship between derived relational responding and verbal intelligence. Additionally, results indicated a significant relationship between experiential avoidance and worry. Future research should clarify the relationship among the three primary variables of interest, improve measurement of these variables, be more sensitive to external validity, and promote the study of acceptance-based treatments that target experiential avoidance.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries