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Maternal and peer attachment, identity formation, and non-suicidal self-injury : a longitudinal mediation study

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Abstract
Background: Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) is defined as the repetitive, direct, and deliberate destruction of one's body tissue without an intention to die. Existing cross-sectional research indicates that the association between maternal/peer attachment and NSSI is mediated by identity synthesis and confusion. However, longitudinal confirmation of the aforementioned mediation models is necessary as cross-sectional models are known to be biased. Consequently, the aim of the present study was to investigate whether identity formation mediates the association between attachment and NSSI in a longitudinal design. Methods: Three waves of self-report questionnaires data (1 year apart) were collected on maternal and peer attachment, identity, and NSSI from students of a high school in Belgium (at Time 1: Mean age = 15.0 years, SD = 1.85, range = 11-19 years, 50.6% female). Both cross-lagged (between-person) and parallel process latent growth curve (within-person) mediation analyses were used to test the mediation models. Results: Findings of the cross-lagged analyses indicated unidirectional associations among the study variables, that is, from attachment to identity to NSSI. Parallel process latent growth mediation analyses showed that the association between the slope of maternal attachment and the slope of NSSI was mediated by the slopes of identity synthesis and confusion. Peer attachment models did not fit the data. Conclusion: The current work demonstrated that dysfunctional maternal and peer attachment may lead to disturbances in identity formation, which, in turn, may lead to increased NSSI. Additionally, within-person analysis indicated that the growth rate of maternal attachment predicted the growth rate of NSSI through the growth rate of identity synthesis and confusion. The clinical relevance of these findings is discussed.
Keywords
Longitudinal follow-up study, Non-suicidal self-injury, Maternal and peer attachment, Identity synthesis and confusion, Cross-lagged mediation, Parallel process latent growth class mediation models, ADOLESCENTS, ASSOCIATIONS, PARENT, PREVALENCE, INVENTORY, INSIGHTS, MODEL

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MLA
Gandhi, Amarendra, et al. “Maternal and Peer Attachment, Identity Formation, and Non-Suicidal Self-Injury : A Longitudinal Mediation Study.” CHILD AND ADOLESCENT PSYCHIATRY AND MENTAL HEALTH, vol. 13, 2019.
APA
Gandhi, A., Luyckx, K., Molenberghs, G., Baetens, I., Goossens, L., Maitra, S., & Claes, L. (2019). Maternal and peer attachment, identity formation, and non-suicidal self-injury : a longitudinal mediation study. CHILD AND ADOLESCENT PSYCHIATRY AND MENTAL HEALTH, 13.
Chicago author-date
Gandhi, Amarendra, Koen Luyckx, Geert Molenberghs, Imke Baetens, Lien Goossens, Shubhada Maitra, and Laurence Claes. 2019. “Maternal and Peer Attachment, Identity Formation, and Non-Suicidal Self-Injury : A Longitudinal Mediation Study.” CHILD AND ADOLESCENT PSYCHIATRY AND MENTAL HEALTH 13.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Gandhi, Amarendra, Koen Luyckx, Geert Molenberghs, Imke Baetens, Lien Goossens, Shubhada Maitra, and Laurence Claes. 2019. “Maternal and Peer Attachment, Identity Formation, and Non-Suicidal Self-Injury : A Longitudinal Mediation Study.” CHILD AND ADOLESCENT PSYCHIATRY AND MENTAL HEALTH 13.
Vancouver
1.
Gandhi A, Luyckx K, Molenberghs G, Baetens I, Goossens L, Maitra S, et al. Maternal and peer attachment, identity formation, and non-suicidal self-injury : a longitudinal mediation study. CHILD AND ADOLESCENT PSYCHIATRY AND MENTAL HEALTH. 2019;13.
IEEE
[1]
A. Gandhi et al., “Maternal and peer attachment, identity formation, and non-suicidal self-injury : a longitudinal mediation study,” CHILD AND ADOLESCENT PSYCHIATRY AND MENTAL HEALTH, vol. 13, 2019.
@article{8649244,
  abstract     = {Background: Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) is defined as the repetitive, direct, and deliberate destruction of one's body tissue without an intention to die. Existing cross-sectional research indicates that the association between maternal/peer attachment and NSSI is mediated by identity synthesis and confusion. However, longitudinal confirmation of the aforementioned mediation models is necessary as cross-sectional models are known to be biased. Consequently, the aim of the present study was to investigate whether identity formation mediates the association between attachment and NSSI in a longitudinal design.

Methods: Three waves of self-report questionnaires data (1 year apart) were collected on maternal and peer attachment, identity, and NSSI from students of a high school in Belgium (at Time 1: Mean age = 15.0 years, SD = 1.85, range = 11-19 years, 50.6% female). Both cross-lagged (between-person) and parallel process latent growth curve (within-person) mediation analyses were used to test the mediation models.

Results: Findings of the cross-lagged analyses indicated unidirectional associations among the study variables, that is, from attachment to identity to NSSI. Parallel process latent growth mediation analyses showed that the association between the slope of maternal attachment and the slope of NSSI was mediated by the slopes of identity synthesis and confusion. Peer attachment models did not fit the data.

Conclusion: The current work demonstrated that dysfunctional maternal and peer attachment may lead to disturbances in identity formation, which, in turn, may lead to increased NSSI. Additionally, within-person analysis indicated that the growth rate of maternal attachment predicted the growth rate of NSSI through the growth rate of identity synthesis and confusion. The clinical relevance of these findings is discussed.},
  articleno    = {7},
  author       = {Gandhi, Amarendra and Luyckx, Koen and Molenberghs, Geert and Baetens, Imke and Goossens, Lien and Maitra, Shubhada and Claes, Laurence},
  issn         = {1753-2000},
  journal      = {CHILD AND ADOLESCENT PSYCHIATRY AND MENTAL HEALTH},
  keywords     = {Longitudinal follow-up study,Non-suicidal self-injury,Maternal and peer attachment,Identity synthesis and confusion,Cross-lagged mediation,Parallel process latent growth class mediation models,ADOLESCENTS,ASSOCIATIONS,PARENT,PREVALENCE,INVENTORY,INSIGHTS,MODEL},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {11},
  title        = {Maternal and peer attachment, identity formation, and non-suicidal self-injury : a longitudinal mediation study},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13034-019-0267-2},
  volume       = {13},
  year         = {2019},
}

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