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The Psychophysiology of Self-Mutilation


Haines, J and Williams, CL and Brain, KL and Wilson, GV, The Psychophysiology of Self-Mutilation, Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 104, (3) pp. 471-489. ISSN 0021-843X (1995) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1037/0021-843X.104.3.471


Self-mutilators' psychophysiological and subjective responses during an imaged self-mutilative act were examined. Differences in arousal to 3 imaged control events (neutral, accidental injury, and aggression) were examined between 3 self-mutilation groups (prisoner, prisoner control, and non-prison control). Imagery scripts were presented in 4 stages: scene setting, approach, incident, and consequence. Results indicated a decrease in psychophysiological and subjective response during self-mutilation imagery. No such decrease was evident for nonmutilators who we administered standard self-mutilation imagery. A lag between psychophysiological and psychological response to the self-mutilative act was evident. Responses elicited during self-mutilation imagery were different from those of control imagery. Results indicated that self-mutilative behavior is maintained by its reinforcing tension-reducing qualities.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Psychology
Research Group:Clinical and health psychology
Research Field:Health psychology
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Other health
Objective Field:Other health not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Haines, J (Dr Janet Haines)
UTAS Author:Williams, CL (Dr Christopher Williams)
UTAS Author:Brain, KL (Ms Brain)
UTAS Author:Wilson, GV (Dr George Wilson)
ID Code:4521
Year Published:1995
Web of Science® Times Cited:161
Deposited By:Psychology
Deposited On:1995-08-01
Last Modified:2011-08-24

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