Title: Emotion dysregulation as a mechanism linking child maltreatment exposure and self-harm behaviors in adolescents
year: 2017
Journal: Child Abuse Negl
Volume: 67
Pages: 383-390
date: May
ISSN: 1873-7757 (Electronic);0145-2134 (Linking)
Article Number: 28371647
Keywords: Adolescents;Child abuse;Child maltreatment;Emotion dysregulation;Self-harm
Abstract: Although child maltreatment exposure is a recognized risk factor for self-harm, mechanisms underlying this relationship remain unclear. Self-harm may function as a compensatory strategy to regulate distressing emotions. This cross-sectional study examines if emotion dysregulation mediates between the severity of maltreatment exposure and self-harm, adjusting for demographic variables and depressive symptoms. Participants were 108 adolescent patients recruited from a psychiatric hospital in Singapore (mean age 17.0 years, SD=1.65; 59.3% female). Study measures included the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ-SF), Functional Assessment of Self-Mutilation (FASM), Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS), and the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-8). Path analysis was conducted to examine the direct and indirect effects of maltreatment exposure on self-harm via emotion dysregulation, controlling for demographic variables and depressive symptoms. Indirect effects were tested using bootstrapped confidence intervals (CI). Results showed that self-harm was highly prevalent in our sample (75.9%). Emotion dysregulation and depressive symptoms were found to be associated with higher self-harm frequency. In addition, results from path analysis showed that the association between the severity of maltreatment exposure and self-harm frequency was significantly mediated by emotion dysregulation B=0.07, p<0.05, 95% CI [0.02, 0.16]. Thus, emotion dysregulation may be a proximal mechanism linking maltreatment exposure and adolescent self-harm. Notably, self-harm may represent maladaptive attempts to manage emotion dysregulation that may have resulted from maltreatment. Findings from the study have implications for the prevention and treatment of self-harm in maltreated youth.
Notes: Peh, Chao Xu;Shahwan, Shazana;Fauziana, Restria;Mahesh, Mithila V;Sambasivam, Rajeswari;Zhang, YunJue;Ong, Say How;Chong, Siow Ann;Subramaniam, Mythily;eng;England;2017/04/04 06:00;Child Abuse Negl. 2017 May;67:383-390. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2017.03.013. Epub 2017 Mar 31.
URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28371647
URI: https://open-access.imh.com.sg/handle/123456789/5163
Authors Address: Research Division, Institute of Mental Health, Singapore. Electronic address: Chao_Xu_PEH@imh.com.sg.;Research Division, Institute of Mental Health, Singapore.;Department of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Institute of Mental Health, Singapore; Department of Psychological Medicine, KK Women's & Children's Hospital, Singapore.
Appears in Collections:2017

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