Georgia Southern Examines Self-Injury
A collaborative study including Dr. Moya Alfonso and doctoral student, Ms. Ravneet Kaur, at Georgia Southern University Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health examine self-injury among early adolescents. Self-injury has been described as a silent school crisis, reflecting insufficient knowledge, confusion, lack of effective interventions, and the tendency for adults and youth to shy away from dealing directly with the issue. The purpose of this study was to identify distinct subgroups of youth who may be at increased risk of or reduced risk of nonsuicidal self-injury.
The detection analyses used by Georgia Southern suggested large groups of youth are at risk for (and not at risk) self-injury including suicidal tendencies, substance use, low belief in life possibilities, and exposure to peer self-injury. Protective factors identified included having low to zero levels of suicidal tendencies, high belief in life possibilities, lack of substance use, and not being a victim of bullying. The researchers concluded that engaging adolescents in prevention programs at an early stage can reduce the chances of suicidal behavior as well as physical injury. Schools should take the lead in advocating for the development of evidence-based interventions that are capable of addressing factors that contribute to self-injury at multiple levels of youth’s environments.