Associations between connections to parents and friends and non-suicidal self-injury among adolescents: The mediating role of developmental assets

Lindsay A TALIAFERRO, Sung Tae JANG, Nicholas J WESTERS, Jennifer J MUEHLENKAMP, Janis L WHITLOCK, Barbara J MCMORRIS

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Abstract

Background: We tested a model that incorporated potential developmental assets through which connections to parents and friends reduce the likelihood of engaging in non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) among adolescents.

Method: Data came from the 2016 Minnesota Student Survey, a population-based survey of 8th, 9th, and 11th grade students (N = 119,452). Chi-square test, t-test, and correlations evaluated bivariate relationships between all variables. Indirect effects of three developmental assets (social competency, positive identity, and empowerment) were modeled simultaneously on associations between connections to parents and friends, and past-year NSSI.

Results: Bivariate analyses demonstrated protective effects of parent and friend connections on NSSI and that all developmental assets were negatively associated with NSSI. After accounting for demographic variables and associations between developmental assets in a multiple mediator path model, connections to parents showed a stronger, negative direct relationship with NSSI than did connections to friends. Developmental assets, especially positive identity and empowerment, accounted for a greater proportion of the effect of connections to friends on NSSI than the effect of connections to parents. Finally, social competency was no longer significantly related to NSSI in the multiple mediator path model.

Conclusion: Clinical efforts to prevent NSSI should focus on enhancing adolescents' sense of positive identity and empowerment, as well as connections to parents and prosocial friends. Copyright © 2019 The Author(s).
Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Early online dateAug 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Aug 2019

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Parents
Wounds and Injuries
Students
Multiple Trauma
Chi-Square Distribution
Demography
Population
Power (Psychology)
Surveys and Questionnaires

Citation

Taliaferro, L. A., Jang, S. T., Westers, N. J., Muehlenkamp, J. J., Whitlock, J. L., & McMorris, B. J. (2019). Associations between connections to parents and friends and non-suicidal self-injury among adolescents: The mediating role of developmental assets. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/1359104519868493

Keywords

  • NSSI
  • Developmental assets
  • Parent connectedness
  • Friend connectedness
  • Adolescent