Nonsuicidal self-injury and interpersonal violence in U.S. veterans seeking help for posttraumatic stress disorder.
Nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) has been defined as deliberately damaging one's body tissue without conscious suicidal intent. NSSI is a robust predictor of suicidal ideation and attempts in adults. While NSSI has been associated with other-directed violence in adolescent populations, the link between NSSI and interpersonal violence in adults is less clear. The current study examined the cross-sectional relationship between NSSI and past-year interpersonal violence among 729 help-seeking veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Veterans who reported a recent history of engaging in cutting, hitting, or burning themselves were significantly more likely to report making violent threats and engaging in violent acts, including the use of a knife or gun, in the past year than veterans without NSSI. NSSI was uniquely associated with interpersonal violence after controlling for a variety of dispositional, historical, contextual, and clinical risk factors for violence, including age, race, socio-economic status, marital status, employment status, combat exposure, alcohol misuse, depression, PTSD symptom severity, and reported difficulty controlling violence. These findings suggest that clinicians working with veterans with PTSD should review NSSI history when conducting a risk assessment of violence.
Calhoun, PS; Van Voorhees, EE; Elbogen, EB; Dedert, EA; Clancy, CP; Hair, LP; Hertzberg, M; Beckham, JC; Kimbrel, NA
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