The predictive role of reflective functioning and somatic complaints on non-suicidal self-injury episode during adolescence : preliminary data

Poster A2, Thursday, October 20, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm, Le Baron

Deborah Badoud1, Larisa Morosan1, Martin Debbané1,2; 1Developmental Clinical Psychology Unit, Faculty of Psychology, University of Geneva, 2Research Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology, University College London, UK

Nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) is a prevalent and threatening behavior during adolescence, potentially associated with negative outcomes (e.g. higher risk of suicide or later psychopathology). Emotion dysregulation, impulsivity and a prior history of NSSI are well-recognized risk factors for NSSI. Albeit poor reflective functioning has been theoretically linked to psychological difficulties expressed via the body, the predictive role of sociocognitive deficits on NSSI lacks of empirical support. The aim of this study was to explore whether reflective functioning and the presence of physical symptoms without recognized somatic causes (e.g. headache) represent correlates and/or prospective risk factors for NSSI episodes. The sample includes 95 adolescents aged 12 to 18 from the general population who participated in two assessments (T0/T1), at 1-year interval. Adolescents reporting a recent episode of NSSI at T1 (N=65, 25girls) were compared to those who did not (N=30, 24girls) on their self-reported levels of reflective functioning and somatic complaints, at T0 and T1 (i.e. longitudinal and cross-sectional comparisons respectively). Cross-sectional non-parametrical comparisons revealed that adolescents with recent NSSI reported higher degree of somatic complaints (p<.001) together with a lower degree of reflective functioning capacities (p<.001). Adolescents with NSSI at T1 further reported significantly higher somatic complaints (p=.04) at T0 and lower degree (trend) of reflective function (p=.07). The current results predominantly sustained our hypothesis. Future studies should include additional outcomes (e.g. other risky behavior or body modification culturally acknowledged) to address the specificity of the relationships observed in the current results.

Topic Area: Comorbid Conditions

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