Distress Intolerance Mediates the Relationship between Child Maltreatment and Nonsuicidal Self-Injury among Chinese Adolescents: A Three-Wave Longitudinal Study
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Nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) is a serious public health concern among adolescents. Identifying risk factors of NSSI is important to effectively prevent or reduce such behavior. Child maltreatment is one of the most widely recognized risk factors for NSSI. How child maltreatment and NSSI is related, however, is still unclear. The present study tested the temporal relationship between physical and emotional abuse and NSSI, with distress intolerance as the potential mediator. Potential gender differences on these associations were also tested. We assessed all study variables among 2259 Chinese adolescents (53.8% females; Mage = 15.11 years, SD = 1.57) for three times at 6-month intervals. The results showed that distress intolerance only mediated the relationship between emotional abuse and NSSI, but not between physical abuse and NSSI. In addition, this mediation effect of distress intolerance was significant only for females. The findings of this study can help researchers and practitioners understand pathways by which child maltreatment impacts adolescent NSSI. Implications for preventions and interventions of NSSI were discussed.
KeywordsNonsuicidal self-injury Child maltreatment Distress intolerance Emotional abuse Physical abuse
This manuscript’s data will not be deposited.
N.K. conceived of the study, participated in its design and coordination and drafted the manuscript; Y.J. participated in the design of the study, performed the measurement, and drafted the manuscript; Y.R. participated in data collection and prepared the initial draft of introduction and discussion; T.G. performed the measurement, conducted statistical analyses, and interpreation of data; X.L. participated in the review of the literature and revised the manuscript; F.L. participated in the design of the study and provided critical revisons of the manuscript; J.Y. participated in its design and coordination and helped to draft the manuscript. All authors contributed to the writing of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 31771228), National Social Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 14ZDB159), Major Projects of the Humanities and Social Science Research Base of Ministry of Education (17JJD190001 and 16JJD190001), Research Center for Crisis Intervention and Psychological Service of Guangdong Province, South China Normal University, and the base of psychological services and counseling for “Happiness” in Guangzhou. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
This manuscript’s data will not be deposited.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All testing materials and the procedures were approved by the ethical board of the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the participating schools’ authorities.
Informed consent was obtained from all participants included in the study.
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