Correlates of Adolescent Nonsuicidal Self-Injury: Adolescent Emotional Reactivity and Maternal Parenting Behaviors Open Access

McCallum, Meaghan (2016)

Permanent URL:


Developmental theories of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) posit that borderline pathology develops as the result of the transaction between biologically-based vulnerabilities to emotion dysregulation and chronic exposure to high levels of emotional invalidation, particularly within the family context. This dissertation reports on two studies aimed at (1) characterizing adolescent emotional reactivity in response to maternal invalidation and (2) better understanding parenting behaviors associated with adolescent risk for BPD. Participants in both studies included two groups of mother-daughter dyads, one group of dyads including adolescents at risk for BPD (i.e. repetitive engagement in self-injury) and one group including healthy control adolescents. Study 1 assessed adolescents' subjective and psychophysiological responses to maternal invalidation. Results indicated that relative to controls, self-injuring adolescents perceived maternal invalidation as more distressing according to self-report measures, but not psychophysiological reactivity. Study 2 took advantage of a multi-method, multi-informant assessment of maternal parenting behaviors. Results indicated that adolescent self-injury status was not related to mothers' parenting behaviors. For the sample as a whole, adolescent reports of high maternal invalidation in combination with low validation were associated with higher levels of borderline pathology, suggesting a potential protective role of maternal validation. Results from both studies support preventive intervention efforts focused on reducing maternal invalidation, enhancing maternal validation, and altering adolescent perceptions of parenting behaviors.

Table of Contents

Dissertation Unifying Introduction. 1

Study 1: Adolescents' Emotional and Physiological Responses to Maternal Invalidation. 3

Literature Review. 5

Method. 13

Results. 19

Discussion. 22

References. 27

Appendix A: Tables. 34

Appendix B: Figures. 37

Study 2: Parenting of Adolescents Engaging in Nonsuicidal Self-Injury: A Multimethod, Multi-Informant Investigation. 42

Literature Review. 44

Method. 51

Results. 62

Discussion. 69

References. 77

Appendix A: Tables. 86

Appendix B: Figures. 92

Unifying Discussion. 95

About this Dissertation

Rights statement
  • Permission granted by the author to include this thesis or dissertation in this repository. All rights reserved by the author. Please contact the author for information regarding the reproduction and use of this thesis or dissertation.
  • English
Research Field
Committee Chair / Thesis Advisor
Committee Members
Last modified

Primary PDF

Supplemental Files