Monday, May 1, 2017

Blog Assignment #10


The millennial generation experiences the highest rates of non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) than any other age group in the country. The stresses of college life and the inability to cope with aversive situations may influence students to engage in self-injurious activities. In exploring possible remedies for this condition it was theorized that persistence may be the factor that links NSSI to suicide. It is possible that with increased frequency of self-harm, an individual could build up their distress tolerance and persevere past mental and physical obstacles in pursuit of death. One proposed solution to this problem is to teach students to strengthen their growth mindset so that they can have a healthy alternative to deal with failure. Since NSSI is the best predictor of future suicidal behavior it is important to understand how it develops and how it may be treated.

Works Cited

Anestis, Michael D., Anne C. Knorr, Matthew T. Tull, Jason M. Lavender, and Kim L. Gratz.
"The Importance of High Distress Tolerance in the Relationship between Nonsuicidal
Self-Injury and Suicide Potential." Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior 43.6 (2013):
663-75. Web.

Anestis, Michael D., and Edward A. Selby. “Grit and Perseverance in Suicidal Behavior and
Nonsuicidal Self-Injury.” Death Studies 39.4 (2015): 211-18 Web.

Anestis, Michael D., Evan M. Kleiman, Jason M. Lavender, Matthew T. Tull, and Kim L. Gratz.
"The Pursuit of Death versus Escape from Negative Affect: An Examination of the
Nature of the Relationship between Emotion Dysregulation and Both Suicidal Behavior
and Non-suicidal Self-injury." Comprehensive Psychiatry 55.8 (2014): 1820-830. Web.

Chatard, Armand, and Leila Selimbegovic‡. "When Self-destructive Thoughts Flash through the
Mind: Failure to Meet Standards Affects the Accessibility of Suicide-related Thoughts."
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 100.4 (2011): 587-605. Web.

Duckworth, A. (2013) The significance of Grit: A Conversation with Angela Lee Duckworth.
Conducted by Deborah Perkins-Gough.

Favazza, A.R. “Self-injurious Behavior in College Students.” Pediatrics 2006117 (2006):
2283–2284. Web.

Fitzgerald, Carlton J., and Simona Laurian-Fitzgerald. "Helping Students Enhance Their Grit and
Growth Mindsets." Journal Plus Education 14 (2016): 52-67. Web.

Flatt, Alicia K. "A Suffering Generation: Six Factors Contributing to the Mental
Health Crisis in North American Higher Education." College Quarterly 16.1 (2013): 1-17. Web.

Furr, R. S., Westefeld, S. J., McConnell, N. G., and Jenkins, M. J. “Suicide and Depression
Among College Students: A Decade Later.” Professional Psychology: Research and
Practice 32 (2001): 97-100. Web.

Joiner, Thomas. Why People Die by Suicide. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 2005. Print.

Waitzkin, Josh. The Art of Learning: A Journey in the Pursuit of Excellence. London: Simon &
Schuster, 2008. Print.

Wester, Kelly L., and Heather C. Trepal. “Nonsuicidal Self-Injury: Exploring the Connection
Among Race, Ethnic Identity, and Ethnic Belonging.” Journal of College Student
Development 56.2 (2015): 127-139. Web.

Whiteside, S. P., and Lynam, D. R. “The Five Factor Model and impulsivity: Using a
Structural Model of Personality to Understand Impulsivity.” Personality and Individual
Differences 30 (2001): 669–689. Web.

Ziegler-Hill, V. “The Connections Between Self-esteem and Psychopathology, Journal of
Contemporary Psychology 41 (2011): 157-164. Web.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Blog Assignment #9

Self harm cycle-475x337.png

Research Question: Can teaching grit to students reduce their frequency to self-harm?
Originally after developing this question I thought that teaching grit to students, a normally positive characteristic, would influence them to self-harm less.
Argument: Students with a fixed mindset engage in self-injurious activities more frequently and are at a higher risk of committing suicide when they exhibit elevated grit and the ability to persevere.
My research concluded that in order for an individual to engage in a suicide attempt with clear intent to die, one must overcome the distress associated with pain and death. In other words to engage in suicidal behavior, the individual must be able to persevere through difficult and frightening emotional experiences.
Counter Argument: An individual engages in suicidal behavior to escape emotional distress or aversive self-awareness. Individuals experience a momentary release to combat their depression instead of building a tolerance to pain (Chatard & Selimbegoic).
This theory suggests that perseverance is not a factor in NSSI and that self-injury has no correlation to suicidal behavior. However, this lack of perseverance is characteristic of a fixed mindset which is synonymous with depression and the inability to cope when experiencing failure. If a failure causes a student to self-harm then it is vital that we condition them to have a growth mindset. Training students to have a growth mindset at a young age could help to avoid the low self-esteem that is generated when a student who has a fixed mindset experiences failure (Waitzkin).

Monday, April 3, 2017

Blog Assignment #8

Screen Shot 2017-04-18 at 3.14.55 PM.pngScreen Shot 2017-04-18 at 3.15.03 PM.png

My main case is a study conducted by Anestis & Selby to indicate whether or not persistence facilitates suicidal behavior. Their idea is that grit and perseverance amplifies the relationship between NSSI and suicide with a clear intent to die. There were 604 participants in this study from undergraduate psychology courses. These students received credit for filling out an online questionnaire that first asked them to rank themselves using Duckworth's, "Short Grit Scale". This is a 12-item self-report scale that measures the degree to which individuals tend to persist towards long-term goals. Additionally, they were asked to complete the "Deliberate Self-Harm Inventory" developed by Gratz, which asses an individual's lifetime history of NSSI (frequency, duration and method). In all 162 (26.8%) of the participants endorsed a history of NSSI. Of the students who endorsed a prior episode of clear suicidal attempt, 26 (70.3%) of them reported a history of NSSI. The findings support the theory that frequently engaging in NSSI can increase one’s ability to tolerate the physical and emotional distress of bodily harm. These findings indicate that a general capacity for perseverance may facilitate suicidal behavior by enabling an individual to overcome fear and pain in the pursuit of death. Although, grit and perseverance are usually positive traits for most people in most situations, there may be select scenarios in which they actually facilitate an increased risk toward suicidal behavior.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Blog Assignment #7

The academic concept that I will use as a frame to help make sense of my project comes from the brilliant mind of Dweck. In a supplementary reading entitled, "The Art of Learning - A Journey in the Pursuit of Excellence" by Josh Waitzkin, he easily explains the concept of a growth vs fixed mindset through his experience learning to play chess. He argues that conditioning adolescents to have growth mindsets are beneficial to their mental health and that having a fixed mindset is dangerous in the presence of failure. I will argue in my paper that having a growth mindset (learning from your failures) will decrease the amount of students that self-injure because they will not feel depressed when they fail but instead will persevere.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Blog Assignment #6

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This is a graph taken from the article "Grit and Perseverance in Suicidal Behavior and Non-Suicidal Self-Injury" by Anestis and Selby. The chart is a visual aid in the main case study that I am using. In it the researchers pooled data from 604 undergraduate students who took psychology courses. These students were asked to complete an online questionnaire. They filled out answers to Duckworth's "Short Grit Scale" in addition to questions about their own personal history with suicidal behavior. The results showed that students who self-injured frequently also showed a higher sense of grit. This is what I will be arguing in my final paper.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Literature Review # 4

Anestis, Michael D., and Edward A. Selby. "Grit and Perseverance in Suicidal Behavior and Non-Suicidal Self-
This article is about the relationship between grit and perseverance to NSSI. The case study that was conducted by the researchers pictured above involved undergraduate psych students as participants. Each student filled out an online questionnaire with question pertaining to either grit or their history with self-injury. It uncovered that undergraduate students who reported higher levels of grit also reported higher levels of NSSI. Additionally, the data collect showed that students who endorsed suicidal behavior with a clear intent to die also reported a previous history of NSSI.

Michael D. Anestis - Ph.D from Florida State University. He teaches abnormal psychology, practicum in clinical psychology, empirically supported treatment of adults, and adult psychopathology at the University of Southern Mississippi. Injury." Death Studies 39.4 (2015): 211-18. Web.

Edward A. Selby - Assistant professor in clinical psychology at RUTGERS UNIVERSITY (whoo!). He specializes in the research and treatment of suicidal and self-injurious behavior, personality disorders, and eating disorders. Dr. Selby completed his Ph.D. in clinical psychology at The Florida State University in 2011, following completion of his psychology residency at Brown University – Warren Alpert Medical School in 2011.

Gritthe ability to strenuously pursue long-term goals despite obstacles and adversity

Perseverance: the degree to which an individual exhibits the tendency to quit tasks when they become difficult or boring

Those who reported higher levels of NSSI simultaneously with high grit reported the most frequent suicide attempts with clear lethal intent (Anestis & Selby 216).

Thus, to engage in suicidal behavior, the individual must be able to persevere through difficult and frightening emotional experiences. These findings are seemingly at odds with escape theories of suicide, wherein the individual engages in suicidal behavior to escape emotional dis- tress or aversive self-awareness. (Anestis & Selby 216).

The findings of this study indicate that a general capacity for persistence may facilitate suicidal behavior, perhaps by enabling an individual to overcome acute fear and pain in pursuit of death. (Anestis & Selby 216).

This article is my main case study for my final paper. In the research conducted they prove that students who engage in NSSI and also report a high level of grit and perseverance are known to self-harm more frequently. The article also counters the escape theorists idea that NSSI is a momentary release from an adverse state. Finally, it offers very interesting statistics about the suicide rate and amount of students who self-injury before they engage in suicidal behavior with a clear intent to die.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Literature Review #3

Buser, Trevor J., Christina Hamme Peterson, and Anne Kearney. "Self-Efficacy Pathways
Between Relational Aggression and Nonsuicidal Self-Injury." Journal of College Counseling 18.3 (2015): 195-208. Web.

This article is about the relationship between social self-efficacy and academic self-efficacy to NSSI. It uncovered that college students who reported higher levels of peer victimization also reported higher levels of self-injury. Additionally, the study found that emotional abuse from parents correlated with poor academic performance, which also led to self-injury. However, the researchers noted that academic self-efficacy is more relevant to pre-college students and that social inefficacy was more prominent in the study conducted with college students.

Dr. Trevor Buser - Associate professor at Rider University, where he teaches coursework in both the clinical mental health counseling and school counseling tracks. His research centers on cognitive predictors of nonsuicidal self-injury. 

Christina Hamme Peterson - Psy.D from the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology at Rutgers University in 2003, Psy.M from the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology at Rutgers University in 2001. Serve on the Editorial Board of Counseling Outcome Research and Evaluation at Rider University.

Self-efficacyone's belief in one's ability to succeed in specific situations or accomplish a task

Peer victimizationphysical, verbal, or psychological abuse of victims by perpetrators who intend to cause them harm

College students with an elevated engagement in NSSI were more likely to experience low levels of confidence in their abilities to perform social tasks (e.g., interacting with strangers, expressing their feelings) and college-level academic tasks (e.g., managing time, writing college-level papers, performing well on examinations) (Buser, Peterson & Kearney 203).

Participants who reported higher levels of peer victimization were more likely to have deficits in social self-efficacy (Buser, Peterson & Kearney 203).

When determining their levels of social self-efficacy, college students may afford more credibility to peer, rather than parental, feedback, and, by contrast, when determining their levels of academic self-efficacy, they may afford more credibility to parental, rather than peer, feedback (Buser, Peterson & Kearney 204).

This article shows that college students who are having difficulties integrating socially experience higher levels of self-injury. Since at this stage in their life college students are more likely to value the opinion of their peers over anyone else, peer victimization is a predecessor to NSSI. Additionally, academic inefficiency is also a factor that leads to NSSI in higher education. This article helps to prove that higher education is a stressor that contributes to the high rate of self-injury among adolescents as opposed to the rest of the population.