INTRODUCTION: Nonsuicidal Self-Injuries (NSSI) are direct and intentional acts of destruction of one’s body tissue without suicidal intent and are relatively frequent in college students.
AIMS: To analyse NSSI frequency and characteristics, compare college students without NSSI, with past NSSI and with current NSSI regarding depressive symptomatology, emotion dysregulation, and self-criticism, and analyse the mechanism under which self-criticism, depression, and emotion regulation affect each other and whether this mechanism is structurally different between the three groups.
METHOD: Three hundred eighty-five college students aged between 18 years and 35 years old (M=20.71; SD=2.80) were evaluated with self-report measures.
RESULTS: The NSSI frequency was 23.4%. Participants with past or current NSSI reported higher depressive symptomatology, emotion dysregulation, and self-criticism than participants without NSSI. Additionally, emotion regulation mediated the relationship between depressive symptoms and self-criticism in college students with current NSSI.
DISCUSSION: Our results highlight the high frequency of lifetime NSSI in college students and the importance of considering emotion regulation as a key construct to understand how depressive symptoms can be related to self-criticism.