Nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) is a serious health risk behavior that forms the basis of a tentative diagnosis in DSM-5, NSSI Disorder (NSSID). To date, established treatments specific to NSSI or NSSID are scarce. As a first step in evaluating the feasibility, acceptability, and utility of a novel treatment for adolescents with NSSID, we conducted an open trial of emotion regulation individual therapy for adolescents (ERITA): a 12-week, behavioral treatment aimed at directly targeting both NSSI and its proposed underlying mechanism of emotion regulation difficulties.
Seventeen girls (aged 13–17; mean = 15.31) with NSSID were enrolled in a study adopting an uncontrolled open trial design with self-report and clinician-rated assessments of NSSI and other self-destructive behaviors, emotion regulation difficulties, borderline personality features, and global functioning administered at pre-treatment, post-treatment, and 6-month follow-up. Measures of NSSI and emotion regulation difficulties were also administered weekly during treatment.
Ratings of treatment credibility and expectancy and the treatment completion rate (88%) were satisfactory, and both therapeutic alliance and treatment attendance were strong. Intent-to-treat analyses revealed significant improvements associated with large effect sizes in past-month NSSI frequency, emotion regulation difficulties, self-destructive behaviors, and global functioning, as well as a medium effect size in past-month NSSI versatility, from pre- to post-treatment. Further, all of these improvements were either maintained or further improved upon at 6-month follow-up. Finally, change in emotion regulation difficulties mediated improvements in NSSI over the course of treatment.
Results suggest the acceptability, feasibility, and utility of this treatment for adolescents with NSSID.
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- Emotion regulation individual therapy for adolescents with nonsuicidal self-injury disorder: a feasibility study
Kim L. Gratz
Matthew T. Tull
- BioMed Central