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The Influence of Romantic Attachment and Intimate Partner Violence on Non-Suicidal Self-Injury in Young Adults

Abstract

Several theoretical models for non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) have been proposed. Despite an abundance of theoretical speculation, few empirical studies have examined the impact of intimate relationship functioning on NSSI. The present study examines the influence of romantic attachment and received intimate partner violence (physical, psychological and sexual) on recent reports of NSSI behaviors and thoughts. The sample was composed of 537 (79.9% female) primarily Caucasian university students between the ages of 18 and 25 years and currently involved in a romantic relationship. The results reveal that anxiety over abandonment was a significant predictor of NSSI thoughts and behaviors in women and a significant predictor of NSSI thoughts in men. Moreover, the experience of intimate partner violence emerged as a significant predictor of NSSI behaviors in both men and women. Continued empirical investigations into the influence of intimate relationship functioning on NSSI will facilitate the development of psychological interventions for young adults dealing with self-harm.

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Correspondence to Christine Levesque.

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Levesque, C., Lafontaine, MF., Bureau, JF. et al. The Influence of Romantic Attachment and Intimate Partner Violence on Non-Suicidal Self-Injury in Young Adults. J Youth Adolescence 39, 474–483 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-009-9471-3

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Keywords

  • Couple
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Romantic attachment
  • Non-suicidal self-injury
  • Young adults