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Journal Article


Hepp J, Carpenter RW, Freeman LK, Vebares TJ, Trull TJ. Personal. Disord. 2020; ePub(ePub): ePub.


(Copyright © 2020, American Psychological Association)






Urges for nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) are important precursors to NSSI acts and may serve as a point of intervention. A close understanding of the phenomenology of NSSI urges and the contexts in which they occur is therefore warranted. We used ambulatory assessment to examine the environmental, interpersonal, and affective contexts of NSSI urges. We recruited 56 participants with borderline personality disorder who reported on urges and contexts for 21 days with six random daily prompts, resulting in 5,750 completed assessments. Twenty-two participants reported 160 NSSI urges. We provide extensive descriptive results characterizing the interaction partners, activities, and events participants reported in association with NSSI urges.

RESULTS from a logistic multilevel model using the full sample (testing associations between all contexts and urges simultaneously) revealed that urges were more likely to occur at higher levels of negative affect, when rejection was experienced, and later in the day. Urges were not associated with disagreements or feeling let down, being at home versus away, being alone versus in company, socializing versus doing another activity, and it being a weekday versus weekend. Additional growth curve analysis for negative affect using the subsample of 22 participants who reported urges showed that, over the course of urge days compared with nonurge days, negative affect increased before urges, peaked during the urge, and then decreased, approximating a quadratic curve. We conclude that urges occurred primarily in the context of negative affect and rejection, which is consistent with theories on intra- and interpersonal functions of NSSI. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).

Language: en


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