Using Interpersonal and Self-Functioning to Anticipate the Engagement of NSSI and Suicide

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Clinical Psychology


Nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) has become a growing health concern and is a key feature of Borderline Personality Disorder and present with other presentations of personality disorders. A significant element of NSSI is that those that who engage in self-harming behaviors are more likely to engage in suicidal attempts and to complete suicide (Bostwick, Pabbati, Geske, & McKean, 2016; Nock & Prinstein, 2004). Many different personality traits have been studied in relation to suicide and NSSI behaviors and have shown that high levels of neuroticism is correlated with high levels of these behaviors (Eaddy et al., 2019; Mullins-Sweatt, Lengel, & Grant, 2013; Claes et al., 2010). Yet, not everyone with this personality feature will attempt suicide or engage in NSSI behaviors. Some such factors that have also shown to be associated with suicide and NSSI are self-identity and interpersonal connectedness. These two components are encompassed in the DSM-5 Alternative model of Personality Disorders (AMPD) under the Criterion A specification. The AMPD Criterion A indicates that how one thinks and feels about themselves, as well as how they think and feel about others, is a critical feature in one's personality functioning (Hopwood, Mulay, & Waugh, 2019). As a result, this study seeks to examine the role of Criterion A of the AMPD as a mechanism for the relationship between neuroticism and NSSI and suicide. Specifically, this study hypothesis that the association between neuroticism and NSSI and suicide is moderated by Criterion A of the AMPD. Therefore, at high levels of Criterion A, the association between neuroticism and NSSI and suicide is strong. When there are lower levels of Criterion A, the same association between neuroticism and NSSI and suicide becomes weaker.

First Advisor

Sara Lowmaster

Research Area

Clinical Psychology

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