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.















Thursday, March 9, 2017

Blog Assignment #5

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.

Kruisselbrink Flatt, Alicia. "A Suffering Generation: Six Factors Contributing to the Mental Health Crisis in North American Higher Education." College Quarterly 16.1 (2013):1-17. ERIC: Educational Resources Information Center. Web. 25 Feb. 2017.

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): 127-39. Web.

Whitlock, Janis, Jennifer Muehlenkamp, Amanda Purington, John Eckenrode, Paul Barreira, Gina Baral Abrams, Tim Marchell, Victoria Kress, Kristine Girard, Calvin Chin, and Kerry Knox. "Nonsuicidal Self-injury in a College Population: General Trends and Sex Differences." Journal of American College Health 59.8 (2011): 691-98. Web.

Williams, Terry M. Teenage Suicide Notes: An Ethnography of Self-harm. New York: Columbia UP, 2017. Print.

Literature Review #2


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): 127-39. Web.


This reading is about searching for reasons why another racial group might engage in NSSI over another one. The study researched the possibility that a weak sense of ethnic belonging may correlate with a higher level of NSSI in higher education. The samples were taken out of two colleges with similar population demographics and conducted through a survey sent over email. 


Kelly L. Wester is an Associate Professor in Counseling and Educational Development at the University of North Carolina Greensboro. She received a PhD from Kent State University - MA, in Counseling and Human Development with a concentration on self-injury. Heather C. Trepal has the same education as Wester but works as an Associate Professor in Counseling and Educational Development at the University of Texas, San Antonio. 


Ethnic IdentityOne's sense of belonging to an ethnic group and the part of one's thinking, perceptions, feelings, and behavior that is due to ethnic group membership.  

Protective Factors  Conditions or attributes (skills, strengths, resources, supports or coping strategies) in individuals, families, communities or the larger society that help people deal more effectively with stressful events and mitigate or eliminate risk in families and communities.


Caucasian students typically have lower levels of ethnic belonging, and have been found to be statistically more likely to engage in NSSI than African Americans and Asian Americans— both of these groups have higher levels of sense of belonging (Wester & Trepal 133). 

Sense of belonging and connection did not fully explain ethnic differences in self-harm behavior, but the interaction between sense of belonging and other contextual factors (e.g., socioeconomic status) did fully mediate the relationship  (Wester & Trepal 134).

Explicitly, Hispanic students reported higher levels of belonging than Caucasian and Multiracial/Other students, but also reported similar rates of NSSI engagement (Wester & Trepal 135).


Although, Hispanic students were an outlier in this study it still showed a correlation between a strong sense of ethnic belonging and lower levels of NSSI. The study also proved that that caucasian and hispanic students are the most likely to engage in NSSI in higher education which is very important for identifying what type of student is at the most risk. I believe I can use this article to show that while ethnicity plays a small role in NSSI it still is a contributing factor when coupled with stress and socioeconomic background.  






Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Blog Assignment #4


James Coviello

Professor Goeller

Research in the Disciplines: College!
7 March 2017
Research Proposal

Working Title: Prevalence of Non-suicidal Self Harm in Higher Education
Topic
I will explore the reasons why non-suicidal self harm is most common in adolescents from the ages of 18 - 25. The paper will link the anxiety typically generated in a college environment to the the reasons that a student may feel the need to participate in self harm. In addition, I would like uncover what social class, gender, and race is most likely to suffer from college induced mental illnesses.
Research Question
Can the anxiety felt from attending a four year university contribute to the rising number of students who are engaging in non-suicidal self harm? What different factors impact students of different genders and races?
Theoretical Frame
The highest portion of the population who participate in non-suicidal self harm are in the times of their lives where they are attending higher education. Since the suicide rate has been increasing in previous years in the United States I think it is important to take a look at the portion of the population that it is effecting the most. It seems pretty clear that college students experience an elevated level of stress compared to the rest of society. I would like to know contributing factors to this anxiety and also how they impact students of different genders and race.
I hear about people from my town who I grew up around the corner from who have taken their own lives. This causes me to gain a curiosity for the reasons adolescents have that influence this decision. I personally, could not imagine causing any harm to myself but I would like to have a better understanding of why my peers might.
Research and Plan
Non-suicidal self harm is defined as the “deliberate infliction of self-harm that causes immediate tissue damage with no intent to die” (Wester & Trepal 1). When a person causes harm to themselves in a way that is not life threatening, it is commonly seen as an identifier with depression and can sometimes even lead to the individual taking their own life. Alicia Kruiddrlbrink Flatt, the author of, A Suffering Generation: Six Factors Contributing to the Mental Health Crisis in North American Higher Education, writes about the increase in depression and suicidal thoughts in college aged students. In her article she tells us that the suicide rate in students since the 60’s has nearly tripled. She attributes this exponential rise to six different factors. One of the most obvious is the financial burden that is created by college. This gives the potential to relate non-suicidal self harm to aspects of privatization in higher education. Another interesting factor she discusses are the increase in female students attending college, who appear to have more of a difficult time adjusting emotionally to the new environment. This is a reason that female students are more likely to deliberately harm themselves in more graphic ways through methods like self-cutting . However, male students are not immune to this type of behavior. The doctors behind the article, Nonsuicidal Self-Injury in a College Population: General Trends and Sex Differences, suggest that just as many male students harm themselves as female students do but since their self harm style typically involves punching through walls it doesn’t seem as much as a pressing issue. Some additional influences that can contribute to non-suicidal self harm as documented in the research paper entitled, Self-Efficacy Pathways between Relational Aggression and Nonsuicidal Self-Injury, by Trevor J. Buser, Christina Hamme Peterson, and Anne Kearney, are overbearing parents and victimizing social circles. These two things are definitely present in the lives of students in higher education In my research I discovered a study stating that in higher education Caucasian and Hispanic students engage in NSSI the most out of any other race (Wester & Trepal 1). I think it would be most interesting to focus on the females of these ethnicities since they are the students most likely to use self harm.  
Working Bibliography
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.
Kruisselbrink Flatt, Alicia. "A Suffering Generation: Six Factors Contributing to the Mental
Health Crisis in North American Higher Education." College Quarterly 16.1 (2013):
1-17. ERIC: Educational Resources Information Center. Web. 25 Feb. 2017.
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): 127-39. Web.
Whitlock, Janis, Jennife Muehlenkamp, Amanda Purington, John Eckenrode, Paul Barreira, Gina
Abrams, TIm Marchell, Victoria Kress, Kristine Girard, Calvin Chin, and Kerry Knox.
"Nonsuicidal Self-Injury in a College Population: General Trends and Sex Differences."
Journal of American College Health. Routledge. Available From: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax:
215-625-2940; Web Site: Http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals, 30 Nov. 2010. Web. 28 Feb. 2017.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Literature Review #1



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


1-17. ERIC: Educational Resources Information Center. Web. 25 Feb. 2017.

This article is about the factors that are contributing to the increase in anxiety depression and suicidal thoughts in students enrolled in higher education. The six factors identified in this article are: academic pressure, financial burden, increased accessibility of higher education, increased female to male student ratio, increased use of technology, and dramatic change in the lifestyle of university and college students. The stress of high grade expectations is a result of the competitive job market, grade inflation at the high school level, and the millennial generation's inability to cope with failure. Student's who are stressed out about the amount of debt they incur in college perform worse than their peers and are at a higher risk for mental health problems. The accessibility of college has led to an increase in racial diversity and research shows that mental health problems are more prevalent among millennial students belonging to racial minorities. The increasing amount of women in higher education have created an increasing demand for mental health centers because they are more likely than men to exhibit signs of depression by a ratio of 2:1. The harmful effects of technology overuse include internet addiction or problematic internet use, mobile phone use, and overuse of internet pornography. Weight gain and alcohol overconsumption in college contribute to this as well to mental health issues as well. 

Alicia Flatt is a career advisor, specializing in co-operative education at the University of Waterloo. She received a BFA in Psychology and History from Redmeer University and got her Masters in Higher Education from the University of Toronto. 

Mental Health Crisis -  Increased presence of disorders that affect your mood, thinking and behavior in higher education. Examples of mental illness include depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders and addictive behaviors
Micro aggressions - the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership.

"As the female population in higher education increases, so do the demands on campus counselling centres. This could be due to the fact that women are more likely than men to exhibit signs of depression by a ratio of 2:1" (Flatt 7).
"7 percent of men and 14 percent of women in first-year university met the criteria for a major depressive disorder" (Flatt 1).
"Risky sexual behaviour and casual sex are also correlated with low self-esteem, guilt, and depression, especially among women (Flatt 11).
"Mental health problems are more prevalent among millennial students belonging to racial minorities, even when other factors including region, defensive responding, and gender composition are taken into account" (Flatt 6).

This article identifies the possible causes of mental illness in higher education and shows which genders and races are more likely to suffer from anxiety. This is very helpful because I want to write about the students that are at the highest risk for mental illness. 






Saturday, February 25, 2017

Blog Assignment #3


1. A Suffering Generation: Six Factors Contributing to the Mental Health Crisis in North American Higher Education
By: Alicia Kruiddrlbrink Flatt
http://web.b.ebscohost.com.proxy.libraries.rutgers.edu/ehost/detail/detail?vid=3&sid=6ad74442-cda6-47af-b126-d87cd2abe77d%40sessionmgr103&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#AN=EJ1016492&db=eric

This paper gives helpful statistics that highlight the increase in depression and suicidal thoughts in college aged students. The author also gives some interesting suggestions on what may be contributing to this behavior like the financial burden of college, the increase of female students attending college, and millennials' dependence on technology.


2. Self-Efficacy Pathways between Relational Aggression and Nonsuicidal Self-Injury
By: Trevor J. Buser, Christina Hamme Peterson, and Anne Kearney
http://web.b.ebscohost.com.proxy.libraries.rutgers.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=8&sid=6ad74442-cda6-47af-b126-d87cd2abe77d%40sessionmgr103

The researchers in this study discovered that relational aggression from parents to students to do well in college directly influence NSSI. Additionally, peer victimization also produces a similar effect. However social-efficacy also has an indirect increase in NSSI if the student becomes a socially isolated.


3. Nonsuicidal Self-Injurt in a College Population: General Trends and Sex Differences
By: Janis Whitlock, MPH, PhD; Jennifer Muehlenkamp, PhD; Amanda Purington, MPS; John Eckenrode, PhD; Paul Barreira, MD, MPA; Gina Baral Abrams, MPH, MSW; Tim Marchell, PhD; Victoria Kress, PhD; Kristine Girard, MD; Calvin Chin, PhD; Kerry Knox, PhD
http://web.b.ebscohost.com.proxy.libraries.rutgers.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=4&sid=9b1db7f9-3688-4b55-8d77-def75dc0d375%40sessionmgr101

This article documented the differences in genders and sexual orientation in relation to NSSI. Female college students reported almost double the amount of NSSI than their male peers. Homosexuality was a contributing factor to this large number. I think it is also interesting to note that the majority of the students who reported NSSI habits were caucasian.



Monday, February 13, 2017

Blog Assignment #2


I think I'd like to refine my idea and talk about the gender divide in commuting to college in my final paper. I think it will be especially interesting for me since I have a twin sister who also commutes to school.

I'm having some trouble locating reliable sources on this specific subject. I can find a lot of resources about the advantages and disadvantages of commuting but none are gender specific. It did say that commuting students spend more time taking care of dependents or working as opposed to students who live on campus which explains the weaker engagement to school. I also found a pbs article that states that women receive a much higher amount of stress from commuting than men do.

The article entitled, "The Disengaged Commuter Student: Fact or Fiction?" from Indiana University has a break down of the percentage of students that commute based on gender and age and if the work or take care of younger siblings which I think could be helpful in my final paper. 

Some additional issues that seem important to my topic seem to be the distance you are commuting. Most studies seem to indicate that if you live further from school you will be less inclined to use school resources. This also interests me because my commute takes between 45 minutes to an hour so I would be interested to learn about this. Another thing that is often talked about is that less affluent students commute more to school than more affluent students. I am curious to see if there are any articles about twins being more likely to commute to college due to the cost since my family could of easily sent me away to college if we didn't have to go to school at the same time. 

http://www.nsse.indiana.edu/pdf/commuter.pdf - this is a link to the paper breaking up the percentage of commuting students from IU, which shows that commuting students work more/ take care of siblings more.

The Disengaged Commuter Student: Fact or Fiction? - NSSE
This link breaks down the percentages of male and female commuters but only shows that commuters take care of siblings more or work

College Living Environments and Stress: Commuters Versus On ...
This link shows that students who live at home have an easier time dealing with the stressors of college classes because they do not have to get acclimated to a new environment

Basically the debate is split up that it is equally advantageous as it is disadvantageous to commute to school. I think I would like to focus on the advantages and show how each gender has a easier/harder time benefiting from commuting to college.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Blog Assignment #1


For my final essay I would like to talk about the advantages of commuting to school. As a commuter I think that I have consistently made dean's list because I am not involved in the party lifestyle at Rutgers and probably because I see my parents every day. There are other pro's to commuting as well like saving money and I'm sure students who live at home have a better relationship with their parents. I think I could find some interesting statistics about stuff like this in my research.