Moderators of treatment response to an intervention for nonsuicidal self-injury in young adults

J Consult Clin Psychol. 2020 Nov;88(11):1032-1038. doi: 10.1037/ccp0000603. Epub 2020 Aug 20.


Objective: Despite the prevalence and impact of nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI), there are few treatments developed to treat the behavior specifically, and little is known about moderators of treatment response. The Treatment for Self-Injurious Behaviors (T-SIB), a brief, behavioral intervention, was developed to treat NSSI in young adults; a previous pilot randomized controlled trial (RCT) comparing T-SIB with treatment as usual (TAU) provided support for the intervention. This study examined demographic, clinical, and NSSI-related predictors of treatment outcome in the pilot RCT for T-SIB. Method: Young adults (N = 33) were randomized to receive T-SIB or treatment as usual; all participants were included in intent-to-treat analyses. The primary outcome of NSSI behaviors was assessed at baseline, posttreatment (9 weeks), and 3-month follow up, and potential moderators were assessed at baseline. Results: Greater lifetime and last year NSSI frequency was associated with fewer NSSI behaviors at posttreatment and follow up among participants in T-SIB. Anxious symptoms also moderated treatment outcomes, but other demographic and clinical variables did not. Conclusion: Previous research has shown that T-SIB is more effective than TAU overall; the current study suggests that T-SIB may be effective for individuals with more frequent NSSI and those with elevated anxiety. A larger evaluation of T-SIB is supported. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Anxiety Disorders / therapy
  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects
  • Psychotherapy, Brief / methods*
  • Self-Injurious Behavior / psychology
  • Self-Injurious Behavior / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult