Year: 2016 Source: Crisis.(2015).36(6):440-446. DOI: 10.1027/0227-5910/a000349 SIEC No: 20160267

Background: Multiple studies have found correlations between history of abuse and self-harm behaviors, but few have examined potential mediators. Studying suicide-related concerns as a mediator in this relationship could inform the interpersonal theory of suicide by identifying acquired capability as a necessary component in self-harm behavior. Aims: This study examined the link between childhood physical abuse, self-injurious behaviors, and suicide-related concerns in young adults. It was hypothesized that more physical abuse and fewer suicide-related concerns would predict self-harm behaviors, and that suicide-related concerns would mediate this relationship. Method: A sample of 212 university students completed self-report measures that assessed self-harm behavior history, reasons for living, and childhood physical abuse. Results: Results supported the hypothesis that more instances of abuse and less concern about pain and death were significantly associated with greater self-harm history. Suicide-related concerns also mediated the relationship between physical abuse and self-harm behaviors. Conclusion: These results support recent theories that habituation to painful and provocative events is an important mechanism in explaining why people engage in self-injurious acts, and provides initial evidence for cognitive mediators between physical abuse and self-harm.