Implicit Emotion Regulation in Individuals with Non-Suicidal Self-Injury
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Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) is a common problem in community and clinical populations, especially during adolescence and early adulthood. Non-suicidal self-injury is a gateway to suicide attempts, and it is comorbid with psychiatric disorders including depressive, anxiety and eating disorders. Extensive research shows that one of the most important predictors of NSSI is emotion dysregulation. In spite of the significant role of emotion dysregulation in the development and maintenance of NSSI, emotion dysregulation has been largely assessed by self-administered measures, and no studies have examined emotion regulation in NSSI with an objective measure. To address this gap in the literature, the purpose of current study was to explore implicit emotion dysregulation (automatic emotion regulatory processes) in individuals with NSSI using an experimental task: the Emotional Conflict Task, which is a variant of the Stroop Task. Another aim of the study was to understand the relationship between self-perceived emotion dysregulation (explicit emotion regulation) and implicit emotion regulation. The study compared individuals with a history of NSSI and a control group who did not have a history of any lifetime NSSI, suicide attempt, and history of any psychiatric disorders or use of psychotropic drugs. The results did not show any significant differences in implicit emotion regulation between NSSI and control group. In addition, explicit emotion dysregulation was not significantly related to implicit emotion regulation in the whole sample. The findings showed that participants with NSSI reported higher difficulties with emotion regulation and depressive, anxiety and stress symptoms.