U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

I Want You to Want Me: Interpersonal Stress and Affective Experiences as Within-Person Predictors of Nonsuicidal Self-Injury and Suicide Urges in Daily Life.

NCJ Number
Date Published
21 pages
In investigating near term risk for self-injurious urges, the current study examined how within-person changes in internalizing and externalizing negative affect, as well as interpersonal rejection and criticism, impact subsequent non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) and suicide urges in daily life.
Young adult women from an ongoing community cohort study with past year self- injurious thoughts completed a 21 day ecological momentary assessment protocol. The study used multilevel path analyses to model within-person effects of negative affect and interpersonal stress on subsequent suicide and NSSI urges within several hours. The study found that when modeled simultaneously, within person changes in internalizing, but not externalizing, negative affect predicted later self-injurious urges. Rejection and criticism predicted later self-injurious urges, with rejection showing a unique relationship to NSSI urges specifically. The effects of rejection and criticism on later NSSI and suicide urges were mediated by internalizing negative affect; rejection also retained a significant direct effect on NSSI urges. The study concluded that interpersonal stressors may be potent near-term risk factors for self-injurious urges by increasing internalizing negative affect among vulnerable individuals. The direct role of rejection and criticism on self-injurious urges is less clear, particularly for suicide. These findings have implications for understanding processes underlying self-injurious urges, as well as designing real-time interventions for these experiences in daily life.

Date Published: January 1, 2019