Assessment of Self-Injurious Thoughts Using A Behavioral Test

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Assessment of Self-Injurious Thoughts Using A Behavioral Test

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Title: Assessment of Self-Injurious Thoughts Using A Behavioral Test
Author: Nock, Matthew; Banaji, Mahzarin

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Citation: Nock Matthew K., and Mahzarin R. Banaji. 2007. Assessment of self-injurious thoughts using a behavioral test. American Journal of Psychiatry 164(5): 820-823.
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Abstract: OBJECTIVE: The assessment of self-injurious thoughts has been limited by a reliance on what individuals are willing or able to report explicitly. The authors examined a new method that measures self-injurious thoughts by using individuals’ reaction times to self-injury-related stimuli on a computerized test. METHOD: Eighty-nine adolescents who were not self-injurious (N=36) or had recently engaged in nonsuicidal self-injury (N=53) completed two versions of the Self-Injury Implicit Association Test, which measure the automatic association of self-injury with oneself and with favorableness. RESULTS: The tests revealed significant behavioral differences between the self-injurers and noninjurers. Moreover, test scores significantly improved the statistical prediction of nonsuicidal self-injury beyond that achieved with demographic and psychiatric factors. CONCLUSIONS: These initial results support the validity of the Self-Injury Implicit Association Test as a performance-based measure of self-injurious thoughts. Future research should further examine the usefulness of incorporating implicit measures in risk assessment and decision-making procedures for self-injury and other sensitive clinical behaviors.
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