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Home > Nonsuicidal self-injury: its associations with pathological internet use and psychopathology among adolescents.

Meszaros, Gergely and Győri, Dora and Horváth, Lili Olga and Szentiványi, Dora and Balazs, Judit . (2020) Nonsuicidal self-injury: its associations with pathological internet use and psychopathology among adolescents. Frontiers in Psychiatry doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2020.00814


Background/hypotheses: As risk factors for nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI), most studies highlight the importance of internalising disorders, while only a few researches show the connection between externalising disorders and NSSI. Although some papers have introduced the idea that increasing prevalence rates of NSSI are connected to the broader use of the internet, associations between NSSI and pathological internet use (PIU) are understudied. According to our hypothesis, there is a connection between PIU and NSSI, but this is mediated by psychopathological factors from both internalising and externalising dimensions.

Methods: In line with the dimensional approach of psychiatric disorders, participants (N = 363) were recruited from both clinical (N = 202 psychiatric inpatient) and nonclinical (N = 161 adolescents from secondary schools) settings. Measurements: Demographic Questionnaire; Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ); Deliberate Self-Harm Inventory (DSHI); Young Diagnostic Questionnaire for Internet Addiction (YDQ), Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview Kid (M.I.N.I. Kid).

Results: There was high NSSI frequency (39.9%-71% of them were girls) in our sample. NSSI was significantly more frequent among those who showed threshold symptoms on SDQ than in the subthreshold group [H(3) = 53.293, p <.001]. In the NSSI frequency, there was also a significant difference between 'normal' internet users and both 'maladaptive' and 'pathological' internet users [H(2) = 10.039, p <.05 p = .007]. According to the mediator models, the relationship between PIU and NSSI is not a direct association; it is mediated by all examined psychopathological factors (M.I.N.I. kid diagnoses) except for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), alcohol abuse and dependence, and adjustment disorder.

Conclusions: We found a high frequency of NSSI. According to our results, PIU in itself is not a risk factor for NSSI but might become a risk factor in the presence of comorbid psychiatric disorders. All of these findings draw the attention of clinicians to the importance of careful screening of comorbid disorders with PIU.

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