Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry


Background and objectives: Identification with non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) is uniquely related to NSSI behavior and predicts future NSSI. This exploratory, mixed methods study used implicit and explicit approaches to further understanding of NSSI identity. Methods: Participants included 15 treatment-seeking adults (60% female, 87% Caucasian) with lifetime NSSI. Participant age ranged from 19 to 38 years (M = 25.33, SD = 6.10). Implicit tasks were completed at two time points in a test-retest design, followed by a qualitative interview. Results: Qualitative data suggest that explicit NSSI identity is relevant to some individuals with NSSI history. Mixed methods analyses indicate that individuals who explicitly identify with NSSI have stronger implicit NSSI identities than those who do not, and report more methods of NSSI on average. Limitations: Results are novel, although exploratory in nature due to the sample size, and may not be generalizable to non-clinical samples or individuals currently engaging in NSSI. Conclusions: Individuals with stronger explicit identity evidence higher implicit identity scores, suggesting a potential higher risk profile for future NSSI. This study offers further support for the value of including both implicit and explicit assessment of NSSI identity in risk assessment.


Explicit, Identity, Implicit, Mixed methods, Non-suicidal self-injury, Self-injury implicit association test








Peer reviewed accepted manuscript.

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Psychology Commons



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