This study tested a longitudinal moderated mediation model of the engagement in non suicidal self-injury (NSSI) based on Nock’s (2009) integrated theoretical model of the development of NSSI. We assessed general predisposing factors (i.e. borderline personality disorder features), precipitating factors (i.e. negative emotions), and NSSI-specific vulnerability factors (i.e. behavioral impulsivity and self-criticism) among 3,600 Chinese secondary school adolescents (56.6 % females, aged between 12 and 18 years). Assessments were conducted for three times, 6 months apart. Results supported the longitudinal mediation model, such that negative emotions mediated the relation of borderline personality disorder features to NSSI. The moderating effects of behavioral impulsivity and self-criticism were both significant, indicating that adolescents with higher levels of both variables were more likely to engage in NSSI. Moreover, behavioral impulsivity made additional contribution to the prediction of future NSSI above and beyond the effects of other risk factors. Findings of this study may help to elucidate the diverse roles of different types of risk factors in the engagement in NSSI, and may also shed new light on our understanding about the nature of this behavior.
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