Dhingra, Katie, Totterdell, Peter, Tantam, Digby and Naylor, Paul (2011) Feeling worse or feeling better: An investigation of emotion regulation in non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI). In: British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) Annual conference, Wednesday 20th - Saturday 23rd July 2011, Guildford, Surrey, UK.

Introduction: Emotion regulation involves the regulation of one's own emotions (intrapersonal emotion regulation) or other
people's emotions (interpersonal emotion regulation). Studies of emotion regulation in NSSI have usually assessed
dysfunctionality in the strategies used to improve affect, but recent research has shown that individuals may sometimes also
intentionally worsen their own (Riediger et al., 2009) and other people' s affect (Niven et al., 2009), often for instrumental
or self-identity purposes. This paper presents the findings of a study exploring differences in the use of regulation strategies
between students with and without a NSSI history and how regulatory strategies relate to NSSI characteristics. Method:
University students (n = 123 self-injurers; n = 37 controls) completed two self-report measures: the Emotion Regulation of
Others and Self scale (EROS; Niven et al., 2011) and the Personal experiences of NSSI scale. Results: Findings indicated that
self-injurers make greater use of strategies intended to worsen their own affect relative to controls. Additionally, past selfinjurers
make greater use of strategies aimed at improving their affect than recent self-injurers; and recent self-injurers
make greater use of affect-worsening and dysfunctional strategies relative to controls. Further, self-injurers' greater use of
affect-worsening strategies and lesser use of affect-improving strategies is associated with more frequent NSSI and a higher
estimated likelihood of future NSSI behaviour. Discussion: Results suggest that use of intrinsic worsening strategies may
contribute more strongly to NSSI behaviour than affect-improving strategies. Interventions should be aimed at reducing
current self-injurers' use of affect-worsening strategies and enhancing use of affect-improving strategies, perhaps through
implementation intentions (e.g., Webb et al., 2010).

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