Prevention Science

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 33–41

Emotion Regulation, Coping and Alcohol Use as Moderators in the Relationship Between Non-Suicidal Self-Injury and Psychological Distress


DOI: 10.1007/s11121-009-0147-8

Cite this article as:
Williams, F. & Hasking, P. Prev Sci (2010) 11: 33. doi:10.1007/s11121-009-0147-8


Non-suicidal self-injury is a risk factor for more severe self-injury and later suicide, yet is relatively under-researched in non-clinical populations. In order to prevent more severe self-injury and later suicide, understanding of non-suicidal self-injury is imperative. This study aimed to examine whether coping skills, emotion regulation and alcohol use moderate the relationship between psychological distress and non-suicidal self-injury. Two hundred eighty-nine young adults completed self-report questionnaires assessing the variables of interest. Of the sample, 47.4% reported a history of non-suicidal self-injury. Adaptive coping strategies protected those who were psychologically distressed from severe self-injury. However for those who reported greater distress, this protective effect was negated by heavy alcohol use. Coping skills training may serve to protect young people from self-injury, although those who are severely distressed may also benefit from strategies to limit alcohol use.


Self-injuryCopingEmotion regulationPsychological distress

Copyright information

© Society for Prevention Research 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Psychology, Psychiatry and Psychological MedicineMonash UniversityCaulfield EastAustralia