Understanding the functions of nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) has important implications for the development and refinement of theoretical models and treatments of NSSI. Emotional and social vulnerabilities associated with five common functions of NSSIÐemotion relief (ER), feeling generation (FG), self-punishment (SP), interpersonal influence (II), and interpersonal communication (IC)Ðwere investigated to clarify why individuals use this behavior in the service of different purposes. Female participants (n = 162) with a history of NSSI completed online measures of self-injury, emotion regulation strategies and abilities, trait affectivity, social problem-solving styles, and interpersonal problems. ER functions were associated with more intense affectivity, expressive suppression, and limited access to emotion regulation strategies. FG functions were associated with a lack of emotional clarity. Similar to ER functions, SP functions were associated with greater affective intensity and expressive suppression. II functions were negatively associated with expressive suppression and positively associated with domineering/controlling and intrusive/needy interpersonal styles. IC functions were negatively associated with expressive suppression and positively associated with a vindictive or self-centered interpersonal style. These findings highlight the specific affective traits, emotional and social skill deficits, and interpersonal styles that may render a person more likely to engage in NSSI to achieve specific goals.
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