Comportements d'automutilation non suicidaires chez les adolescents et les jeunes adultes : une étude des facteurs de risque immédiats, proximaux et distaux

Authors: Bégin, Michaël
Advisor: Normandin, Lina
Abstract: Non suicidal self-injuries (NSSI) refer to deliberate damage to one’s own body tissue without any conscious suicidal intents. Adolescents and young adults are particularly at risk to present with these behaviours. Risk factors and factors maintaining the problematic can be divided into three categories, immediate factors (or NSSI functions), proximal, and distal ones. Immediate factors, or NSSI functions, refer to immediate triggers of the behaviour and to underlying psychological processes. Proximal factors represent an array of psychological difficulties associated with NSSI. Distal factors are thought to be more general risk factors for psychological and behavioural difficulties such a childhood maltreatment. These three categories allow for a better understanding of the aetiology of NSSI as well as for a more sophisticated conceptualisation of these behaviours which clinical and medical interventions rely on. The thesis aimed at understanding psychological mechanisms underlying NSSI and at integrating these mechanisms into existing theoretical models. Another objective was to examine the role of psychological difficulties, including borderline personality traits as an indicator of pathological identity development, on the development of NSSI. Furthermore, the thesis aimed at examining the impact of childhood maltreatment on the development of psychological difficulties related to NSSI while considering the cooccurrence of multiple maltreatment types. A first step towards studying this phenomenon is the development of a valid measure of NSSI in French. To do so, a first article aimed at translating a questionnaire that assesses NSSI and their functions and at documenting its psychometric properties. A prevalence rate similar to those reported in the literature was found and NSSI functions were organised into three factors, namely Automatic, Social Influence, and Nonconformist and peer identification. Associations between NSSI, their functions, and psychological difficulties frequently related to NSSI have been explored in order to test the convergent validity of the instrument. A second article focused on the associations between childhood maltreatment, NSSI, and related psychological difficulties. The results showed that cooccurring maltreatment types is frequent and that specific types or combinations are related to higher level of psychological difficulties and NSSI. vi The thesis showed that the French version of the questionnaire assessing NSSI and their functions is valid to assess the constructs of interest amongst adolescents and young adults from the general population. It also provides further support to the idea that psychological functions of NSSI are consistent with the major theories in the field of borderline personality disorder. In addition, it demonstrates that considering the cooccurrence of multiple maltreatment types is essential to better understand its impact on NSSI and related psychological difficulties. Finally, it provides some evidence that sexual abuse may be a specific risk factor for borderline personality disorder and NSSI. The thesis adds to the knowledge regarding the aetiology and the psychological mechanisms underlying NSSI and contributes to the clinical and theoretical understanding of these behaviours.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2021
Open Access Date: 28 June 2021
Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11794/69487
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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