Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 40, Issue 11, pp 1477–1488 | Cite as

A Comparison of Invalidating Family Environment Characteristics Between University Students Engaging in Self-Injurious Thoughts & Actions and Non-Self-Injuring University Students

  • Jodi Martin
  • Jean-François Bureau
  • Paula Cloutier
  • Marie-France Lafontaine
Empirical Research


Individuals experiencing non-suicidal self-injurious (NSSI) thoughts only are greatly overlooked by current research. This investigation aimed at determining how three groups of university students differed in their reported quality of childhood relationships with parents, and histories of physical and sexual abuses. These groups included students experiencing only NSSI thoughts (n = 126), students engaging in NSSI actions (n = 90), and students exhibiting neither (n = 1,080). Results showed that individuals experiencing NSSI thoughts only, and those engaging in NSSI actions reported poorer relationships with parents and more physical abuse than the No NSSI group; however, NSSI thoughts and NSSI action groups had similar outcomes to one another for most variables. These findings suggest that individuals experiencing only NSSI thoughts share similar negative childhood environments associated with engagement in NSSI action and that they should be included in future research, particularly investigations aimed at identifying protective factors that could prevent them from engaging in NSSI.


Non-suicidal self-injury Self-injurious thoughts Parent–child relationships Child maltreatment 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jodi Martin
    • 1
  • Jean-François Bureau
    • 1
  • Paula Cloutier
    • 2
  • Marie-France Lafontaine
    • 1
  1. 1.School of PsychologyUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Mental Health ResearchChildren’s Hospital of Eastern OntarioOttawaCanada

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