A comparison of retrospectively reported and EMA-reported perceived social support in predicting EMA-reported non-suicidal self-injury

Date

2022-08

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Abstract

Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) urges and behaviors are cross-sectionally and longitudinally associated with lower perceived social support, as well as related constructs such as perceived rejection. However, no studies have examined concordance of retrospective (baseline) and ecological momentary assessment (EMA) reports of perceived social support. Traditional measures (i.e., retrospective reports) and EMA measures (i.e., reporting on an experience in the moment) are often only weakly to moderately correlated, and measurement may therefore impact observed associations between variables. The current study examined the correlation between retrospectively reported (i.e., baseline or typical) perceived emotional social support and average EMA-reported perceived emotional social support, as well as whether average EMA-reported perceived emotional social support improved estimation of EMA-reported NSSI urges and behaviors above baseline-reported retrospective self-report of perceived emotional social support alone. Participants were 93 young adults (ages 18-34) with past-month NSSI urges or behaviors residing in the United States. Participants completed a semi-structured interview, self-report surveys, and a two-week EMA protocol. Baseline-reported and EMA-reported perceived emotional social support were strongly positively correlated. Average EMA-reported perceived emotional social support improved estimation of EMA-reported NSSI urges but not NSSI behaviors. Limitations include a restricted age range and examining only average levels of perceived emotional social support across all EMA surveys; this study does not examine temporal associations between perceived emotional social support and NSSI urges or behaviors over time. Further work is needed to clarify temporal directions between perceived emotional social support and NSSI urges.

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Keywords

Non-Suicidal Self-Injury, Ecological Momentary Assessment

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