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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.
Date: August 2008
Creator: Howe-Martin, Laura S.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Predicting The Impact Of Abuse: Is Experiential Avoidance A Mediator?

Description: Intimate partner violence (IPV) occurs between two individuals who have formerly been or are currently in an intimate relationship. IPV includes physical violence, sexual violence, threats of physical or sexual violence, and emotional abuse (Kernic, Wolf, & Holt, 2000; Rennison & Welchans, 2000). Experiencing IPV is associated with a serious impact on psychological health (Afifi, MacMillan, Cox, Asmundson, Stein, & Sareen, 2008; Calvete, Corral , & EstĪ˜vez, 2008). Research on other forms of trauma indicates that experiential avoidance (EA) plays an important role in psychological distress and psychopathology. Thus, it was hypothesized that EA would play a key role in the impact of IPV. Using the Baron and Kenny (1986) method, the current study examined whether EA was a mediator between IPV severity and psychological distress, and whether EA was a mediator between IPV severity and PTSD symptomology, more specifically. In addition, mediational analyses were run to determine if suppression changed the relationships between IPV severity and psychological distress, or IPV severity and PTSD symptomology. Using the same methods, EA and suppression were both also examined as mediators between psychological/verbal abuse severity and psychological distress, and between psychological/verbal abuse severity and PTSD symptomology. No significant results were found in a treatment sample. However, several mediations and partial mediations were found in an undergraduate sample. These findings are likely to impact treatment of individuals who have experienced IPV and demonstrate the utility of acceptance and mindfulness based interventions such as ACT with this population.
Date: December 2011
Creator: Mannon, Kristi, A.
Partner: UNT Libraries