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Correlates of disclosure of non-suicidal self-injury amongst Australian university students

Sylvanna Mirichlis (School of Population Health, Curtin University, Perth, Australia)
Penelope Hasking (Enable Institute, School of Population Health, Curtin University, Perth, Australia)
Stephen P. Lewis (Department of Psychology, University of Guelph, Guelph, Canada)
Mark E. Boyes (Enable Institute, School of Population Health, Curtin University, Perth, Australia)

Journal of Public Mental Health

ISSN: 1746-5729

Article publication date: 11 January 2022

Issue publication date: 10 February 2022

171

Abstract

Purpose

Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) is associated with psychological disorders and suicidal thoughts and behaviours; disclosure of NSSI can serve as a catalyst for help-seeking and self-advocacy amongst people who have self-injured. This study aims to identify the socio-demographic, NSSI-related, socio-cognitive and socio-emotional correlates of NSSI disclosure. Given elevated rates of NSSI amongst university students, this study aimed to investigate these factors amongst this population.

Design/methodology/approach

Australian university students (n = 573) completed online surveys; 80.2% had previously disclosed self-injury.

Findings

NSSI disclosure was associated with having a mental illness diagnosis, intrapersonal NSSI functions, specifically marking distress and anti-dissociation, having physical scars from NSSI, greater perceived impact of NSSI, less expectation that NSSI would result in communication and greater social support from friends and significant others.

Originality/value

Expanding on previous works in the area, this study incorporated cognitions about NSSI. The ways in which individuals think about the noticeability and impact of their NSSI, and the potential to gain support, are associated with the decision to disclose self-injury. Addressing the way individuals with lived experience consolidate these considerations could facilitate their agency in whether to disclose their NSSI and highlight considerations for health-care professionals working with clients who have lived experience of NSSI.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Mark Boyes is supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council, Australia (Investigator Grant 1173043). The other authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Citation

Mirichlis, S., Hasking, P., Lewis, S.P. and Boyes, M.E. (2022), "Correlates of disclosure of non-suicidal self-injury amongst Australian university students", Journal of Public Mental Health, Vol. 21 No. 1, pp. 70-81. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPMH-07-2021-0089

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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