Whitlock study finds that self-injury in young adults indicates suicide risk
December 5, 2012
A paper published by the Journal of Adolescent Health on December 4th reports the findings of a longitudinal study on non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) led by BCTR and Human Development researcher Dr. Janis Whitlock. In a Cornell Chronicle article on the study, Dr. Whitlock describes the findings:
While we can't conclude that self-injury leads to later suicide attempts, it is a red flag that someone is distressed and is at greater risk. This is important because self-injury is a relatively new behavior that does not show up much in the literature as a risk factor for suicide. It also suggests that if someone with self-injury history becomes suicidal, having engaged in NSSI may make it much easier to carry out the physical actions needed to lethally damage the body.
BCTR co-authors on the paper include BCTR director John Eckenrode, and Amanda Purington, project coordinator for the Cornell Research Program on Self-Injurious Behavior.