The effects of nonsuicidal self-injury on parenting behaviors: A longitudinal analyses of the perspective of the parent

Imke Baetens*, Laurence Claes, Patrick Onghena, Hans Grietens, Karla Van Leeuwen, Ciska Pieters, Jan R. Wiersema, James W. Griffith

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background: The present study is the first to examine predictors and consequences of nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) in adolescence using parent-reported data in a longitudinal design. Across three time points, we examined the reciprocal effects of parent-reported parenting behaviors as they are related to adolescents' NSSI. Methods: The present study is a three-wave prospective study in a large sample of community adolescents and their parents. At time 1 (age 12), the sample consisted of 1396 adolescent reports and 1438 parent reports. Time 2 (age 13) included 827 adolescent and 936 parent reports. At time 3 (age 14), 754 adolescent and 790 parent reports were obtained. Engagement in NSSI (adolescent report) was determined by an affirmative response to the item 'Have you intentionally injured yourself (e.g., cut, burn, scratch) this year, without the intent to die?'. Parental awareness of NSSI at age 13 and 14 was examined using a single-item screening question. Parenting behaviors were examined by the parent versions of the Parental Behavior Scale. Results: Results showed that although NSSI was reported by 10% of the adolescents, only 3% of the parents were aware of the NSSI behaviors of their children. Cross-lagged analyses showed a reciprocal relationship between NSSI and parenting behaviors over time. We found a significant effect of both positive parenting and controlling parenting on the presence of NSSI at time 2. But vice versa NSSI also has an effect on parenting behaviors over time. Results showed that NSSI at time 1 has an impact on controlling parenting behaviors, namely punishment at time 2. NSSI at time 2 showed an impact on parent's perception of positive parenting, parental rule setting, punishment and harsh punishment. Conclusions: The present study examined predictors and consequences of NSSI in a longitudinal design, and emphasized the importance of examining reciprocal interactions between NSSI and parenting behaviors. Furthermore, it is the first study to examine parent-reported data in a longitudinal design and gives insight into parents' perspectives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number24
JournalChild and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 8 2015


  • Adolescence
  • Consequences
  • Cross-lagged analyses
  • Longitudinal
  • Nonsuicidal self-injury
  • Parent-reported data
  • Parenting behaviours

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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