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Early maladaptive schemas and non-suicidal self-injury among young adults: A preliminary investigation

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Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) represents a critical mental health issue among young adults. Accordingly, it is important to understand potentially modifiable processes involved in its enactment. The current investigation built on previous work to better understand the nature of early maladaptive schemas (EMS) in the context of NSSI. One hundred and thirty young adults completed questionnaires assessing NSSI history, EMS and depressive symptoms. Results indicate that EMS may play a role in NSSI engagement after controlling for depressive symptoms. Specifically, higher scores on social isolation and emotional inhibition and possibly lower scores on entitlement/grandiosity schemas may differentiate those who self-injure from those who do not. Furthermore, higher levels of dependence/incompetence schema may differentiate those who report a higher NSSI frequency and those who report a less frequent NSSI history. Although a nascent area of study, our findings suggest that it may be fruitful to consider conceptualizing NSSI within a schema therapy framework.
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Keywords: cognition; depression; non-suicidal self-injury; schema; self-harm

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Psychology, University of Guelph, Guelph, Canada

Publication date: October 2, 2015

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