Child Maltreatment, Subsequent Non-Suicidal Self-Injury and the Mediating Roles of Dissociation, Alexithymia and Self-Blame | Child Abuse & Neglect
Although child maltreatment is associated with later non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI), the mechanism through which it might lead to NSSI is not well understood. This retrospective case-control study from Child Abuse & Neglect examined associations between child maltreatment and later NSSI, and investigated the mediating roles of dissociation, alexithymia (the inability to describe emotions in a verbal manner), and self-blame. The results indicate that child maltreatment, and in particular, physical abuse, is strongly associated with the development of subsequent NSSI and may be partially mediated by dissociation, alexithymia, and self-blame for females and dissociation and self-blame for males. Altering attributional style (through cognitive therapy or emotion focused therapy) and improving the capacity to regulate emotions (through dialectical behavior therapy) may contribute to reduction or cessation of NSSI.