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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 25  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 23-28

Self-injurious behavior, emotion regulation, and attachment styles among college students in India

1 Clinical Psychologist, SAN-KER, Mawroh, Shillong, Meghalaya, India
2 Department of Clinical Psychology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, Bengaluru - 560 029, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Poornima Bhola
Department of Clinical Psychology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, Bengaluru - 560 029, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-6748.196049

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Context: Intentional self-directed acts of injury are the most common among adolescents and young adults. Developmental psychopathology theories that conceptualize pathways to self-injurious behaviors (SIBs) implicate insecure attachment representations and inadequate self-regulatory skills to cope with emotional distress. Aims: The study aimed to examine relationships between SIBs, attachment, and emotion regulation among college students. Materials and Methods: A total of 470 participants from undergraduate and postgraduate colleges completed the functional assessment of self-mutilation questionnaire, attachment style questionnaire, and the difficulties in emotion regulation scale. Results: Results indicated that 31.2% of the participants reported SIB in the past year, with the mean age of onset being 15.9 years. Moderate/severe forms of self-injury (e.g. cutting, burning) were reported by 19.8% of the sample. Self-injuring youth reported higher levels of anxious attachment, preoccupation with relationships and need for approval in relationships, and difficulties in all domains of emotion regulation. Logistic regression analysis identified preoccupation with relationships and impulse control difficulties as predictors of SIB. Conclusions: The findings have implications for comprehensive interventions for self-injuring youth.

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