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Am J Psychiatry. 2007 May;164(5):820-3.

Assessment of self-injurious thoughts using a behavioral test.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychology, Harvard University, 33 Kirkland St., Cambridge, MA 02138, USA. nock@wjh.harvard.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The assessment of self-injurious thoughts has been limited by a reliance on what individuals are willing or able to report explicitly. The authors examined a new method that measures self-injurious thoughts by using individuals' reaction times to self-injury-related stimuli on a computerized test.

METHOD:

Eighty-nine adolescents who were not self-injurious (N=36) or had recently engaged in nonsuicidal self-injury (N=53) completed two versions of the Self-Injury Implicit Association Test, which measure the automatic association of self-injury with oneself and with favorableness.

RESULTS:

The tests revealed significant behavioral differences between the self-injurers and noninjurers. Moreover, test scores significantly improved the statistical prediction of nonsuicidal self-injury beyond that achieved with demographic and psychiatric factors.

CONCLUSIONS:

These initial results support the validity of the Self-Injury Implicit Association Test as a performance-based measure of self-injurious thoughts. Future research should further examine the usefulness of incorporating implicit measures in risk assessment and decision-making procedures for self-injury and other sensitive clinical behaviors.

PMID:
17475742
DOI:
10.1176/ajp.2007.164.5.820
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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