Nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) is associated with increased risk of suicide attempts. Theories of NSSI assert interpersonal stress as a common risk factor for, and perhaps consequence of, NSSI. Prior research has not examined reciprocal associations between chronic interpersonal stress and NSSI. This study used a multiwave, prospective design to address this gap in a sample of adolescent girls, a group with elevated risk for both chronic interpersonal stress and NSSI. Pubertal development was examined as a moderator of the reciprocal associations.
Adolescent girls (N = 220; ages 12-16, M age = 14.69 years) at heightened risk for NSSI completed a baseline assessment and follow-up assessments over 18 months, divided into two 9-month epochs (Time 1 and 2). Pubertal development was assessed via self- and parent-report. Chronic interpersonal stress was assessed using a semistructured interview at the end of each time period. NSSI was measured using a semi structured clinical interview every 3 months within both time periods to enhance accurate reporting.
Path models revealed that chronic romantic stress during Time 1, but not peer or parent child stress, predicted NSSI during Time 2 among girls with more advanced pubertal development. Moreover, NSSI during Time 1 predicted higher levels of chronic romantic and parent child stress during Time 2.
Results revealed a reciprocal relationship between chronic romantic stress and engagement in NSSI. Further, this association may be best understood in the context of pubertal development. 2018 Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine. All rights reserved.
- Romantic stress
- Adolescent dating
- Pubertal development
- ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS
- LIFE EVENTS
- DEPRESSIVE SYMPTOMS
- YOUTH DEPRESSION