From traumatic events and dissociation to body image and depression symptoms – in search of self-destruction syndrome in adolescents who engage in nonsuicidal self-injury
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Zakład Psychologii i Psychopatologii Rozwoju, Instytut Psychologii, Uniwersytet Gdański
Oddział Terapii Uzależnienia od Alkoholu, Wojewódzki Szpital Psychiatryczny im. Prof. Tadeusza Bilikiewicza w Gdańsku
Submission date: 2015-11-27
Final revision date: 2016-06-10
Acceptance date: 2016-06-21
Online publication date: 2017-04-30
Publication date: 2017-04-30
Corresponding author
Wioletta Radziwiłłowicz   

Instytut Psychologii Wydział Nauk Społecznych Uniwersytet Gdański, Gdańsk, 00-000 Gdańsk, Polska
Psychiatr Pol 2017;51(2):283-301
The aim of the study was to analyze relationships between the variables: severity of depression symptoms, feelings towards one’s own body, dissociation, the number and type of traumatic life events experienced by adolescents who engage in deliberate self-injury and are psychiatrically hospitalized.

We examined 60 patients aged 13–17 (M = 15.48, SD = 1.19). More than a half (55%) were diagnosed with a mixed disturbance of emotions and conduct, 23.5% with depressive behavior disorders, 10% were diagnosed a depressive episode. The research tools: a socio-demographic survey; original Feelings Towards the Body Questionnaire created on the basis of Tomkiewicz’s description; Kovacs’s CDI; Scharfetter’s Ego-Psychopathology questionnaire.

The examined individuals have negative feelings toward their bodies, more than half of them experience severe depression symptoms. There are links between traumatic events, dissociation, body image and the severity of depression symptoms. The strongest links were found: between dissociation vis-a-vis the severity of depression symptoms and the feelings towards one’s body; and between the severity of depression symptoms and the feelings towards one’s body.

Two thirds of the examined individuals attempted suicide. Various forms of direct self-destructive behaviors very often occur simultaneously. It also provokes reflection about the conditions under which self-inflicted injury does (or does not) prevent suicide attempts. Self-mutilation along with the interaction between clinical variables may form a self-destruction syndrome in various mental disorders and contribute to clinical pictures of these disorders, this should be taken into account in diagnosing and treatment of adolescents.

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