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Compr Psychiatry. 2011 Jan-Feb;52(1):63-74. doi: 10.1016/j.comppsych.2010.04.009. Epub 2010 Jun 26.

An experimental investigation of emotional willingness and physical pain tolerance in deliberate self-harm: the moderating role of interpersonal distress.

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1
Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, MS 39216, USA. klgratz@aol.com

Abstract

Although theoretical and clinical literature emphasize the role of both an unwillingness to experience emotional distress and physical pain tolerance in deliberate self-harm (DSH), research on their associations with DSH remains limited. This study sought to examine the relationships between DSH and the willingness to experience emotional distress and tolerate physical pain, including the moderating role of interpersonal distress in these relationships. To this end, young adults with recent DSH (n = 43) and controls without any DSH (n = 52) were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 emotion-induction conditions (distressing or neutral), after which behavioral measures of both the willingness to experience distress and physical pain tolerance were obtained. Consistent with hypotheses, findings indicated heightened physical pain tolerance among self-harming individuals only under conditions of interpersonal distress. Furthermore, findings provided some support for the hypothesized association between DSH and the unwillingness to experience emotional distress, suggesting that self-harming women evidence less willingness to experience emotional distress only under conditions of depleted regulatory capacity (eg, following an interpersonal stressor).

PMID:
21220067
DOI:
10.1016/j.comppsych.2010.04.009
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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