JOURNAL ARTICLE

Impulsivity and clinical symptoms among adolescents with non-suicidal self-injury with or without attempted suicide

Donald M Dougherty, Charles W Mathias, Dawn M Marsh-Richard, Kristen N Prevette, Michael A Dawes, Erin S Hatzis, Guy Palmes, Sylvain O Nouvion
Psychiatry Research 2009 August 30, 169 (1): 22-7
19631392
This study examined clinical characteristics and laboratory-measured impulsive behavior of adolescents engaging in either non-suicidal self-injury with (NSSI+SA; n=25) or without (NSSI-Only; n=31) suicide attempts. We hypothesized that adolescent with NSSI+SI would exhibit more severe clinical symptoms and higher levels of behavioral impulsivity compared to adolescents with NSSI-Only. Adolescents were recruited from an inpatient psychiatric hospital unit and the two groups were compared on demographic characteristics, psychopathology, self-reported clinical ratings, methods of non-suicidal self-injury, and two laboratory impulsivity measures. Primary evaluations were conducted during psychiatric hospitalization, and a subset of those tested during hospitalization was retested 4-6 weeks after discharge. During hospitalization, NSSI+SA patients reported worse depression, hopelessness, and impulsivity on standard clinical measures, and demonstrated elevated impulsivity on a reward-directed laboratory measure compared to NSSI-Only patients. In the follow-up analyses, depression, hopelessness, suicidal ideation, and laboratory impulsivity were improved for both groups, but the NSSI+SA group still exhibited significantly more depressive symptoms, hopelessness, and impulsivity than the NSSI-Only group. Risk assessments for adolescents with NSSI+SA should include consideration not only of the severity of clinical symptoms but of the current level impulsivity as well.

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