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Louise Edwards

Doctor of Clinical Psychology
Study Completed: 2019
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
Non-suicidal Self-injury and Suicide Risk Among Young Adults: An Examination of the Role of Perceived Burdensomeness

The New Zealand youth suicide rate is one of the highest amongst developed countries and suicide is a significant public health problem worldwide. Self-injurious behaviour, in the absence of the intent to die (Non-suicidal self-injury; NSSI) is a significant risk factor for suicidal behaviours. Therefore elucidating the relationship between NSSI and suicide attempts has important clinical implications in suicide prevention, interventions and risk management. Ms Edwards investigated the transition between NSSI and suicide attempts by focusing on perceived burdensomeness (PB), a construct shown to be related to death by suicide as part of the Interpersonal-Psychological Theory of Suicide (IPTS). She found evidence to suggest levels of PB increase as individuals move from NSSI behaviours to suicidal behaviours. Results indicate that PB is an important construct clinically in New Zealand, for NSSI research, treatment and prevention, suicide prevention and the relationship between these two areas.

Dr John Fitzgerald
Professor Janet Leathem

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