Differences in Affect Expressivity between Subtypes of Non-Suicidal Self-Injury

ISSN: 2210-6774 (Online)
ISSN: 2210-6766 (Print)

Volume 6, 4 Issues, 2016

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Adolescent Psychiatry

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Lois T. Flaherty
Harvard University Medical School
Cambridge, MA

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Differences in Affect Expressivity between Subtypes of Non-Suicidal Self-Injury

Adolescent Psychiatry, 3(3): 269-276.

Author(s): Ingrid Van Camp, Mattias Desmet, Ruth Inslegers and Reitske Meganck.

Affiliation: Ghent University, Henri Dunantlaan 2, 9000 Gent – Belgium.


Background: In the past several empirical studies have examined the relationship between non-suicidal selfinjury (NSSI) and affect inexpressivity, and have provided mixed results. This led us to the hypothesis that there exist two groups of self-harmers (HS and PS) that differ with respect to affective expression.

Methods: To test this we divided a sample of self-harmers into two phenomenologically distinct groups, based on the theory of Huband and Tantam. Subsequently these groups were compared on a number of measures that assess affect expressivity, intensity and management.

Results: No difference in affect expression was found between the group of self-harmers as a whole and controls, but a significant difference was obtained for the subtypes. Moreover, one group (PS) was characterized by a significantly higher negative affect intensity and diminished management of emotions, while the other group (HS) scored significantly higher on positive affect intensity.

Conclusion: Differences in affect expression were only found in the subgroups of NSSI. In the total group of self-harmers this effect was levelled out. This finding underscores the importance of distinguishing subtypes of NSSI.


Non-suicidal self-injury, deliberate self-harm, emotional expressivity, alexithymia, emotional intensity, subtypes, emotional management.

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Article Details

Volume: 3
Issue Number: 3
First Page: 269
Last Page: 276
Page Count: 8
DOI: 10.2174/2210676611303030008
Price: $58

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