Year: 2019 Source: Consciousness and Cognition (2016). 43, 38-47. SIEC No: 20190398

The aim of the present study is to investigate different facets of the theory of mind (ToM), i.e. first vs. third-person, first vs. second-order ToM, egocentric vs. allocentric perspective, in a clinical sample of 20 non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) adolescent inpatients and 20 healthy controls.

Methods: We investigated whether performance in ToM tasks was related to both the type and frequency of self-injuring behavior and attitude toward life and death, using a semi-structured interview and different self-report questionnaires.

Results: NSSI participants performed less well than the control group in all the ToM dimensions investigated. Furthermore, ToM performance was negatively related to Attraction to Death, in terms of both the type and frequency of self-injuring behavior, and it was positively related to Attraction to Life.

Conclusions: These preliminary findings have interesting implications for future clinical investigations, in that they provide previously unavailable information regarding the association between ToM and NSSI behavior.