Structural Model of Socioecological Connectedness and Non-Suicidal Self-Injury among Adolescents
Adolescents who feel connected to people and their environments may be at a reduced risk for engaging in non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI). The objective of this study was to examine the longitudinal associations of socioecological connectedness with bullying victimization and depressive symptoms in early adolescence and with subsequent NSSI in mid-adolescence, and how these paths might differ between girls and boys. Using data from the Healthy PassagesTM project, adolescents (N=4115; 49.1% girls; non-Latinx Black, 31%; Latinx, 46%, and non-Latinx White, 23%) in the 7th grade reported perceptions of connections with their parents and family, peers, school, and neighborhood, as well as on bullying victimization and depressive symptoms, and their subsequent 10th grade (Mage=16.1) NSSI. Structural equation modeling indicated that in the overall sample the absence of NSSI behaviors in 10th grade was associated with higher perceptions of connections between adolescents and their families, both directly as well as indirectly through bully victimization and depressive symptoms three years earlier. Additionally, perceptions of higher school connectedness was indirectly associated with the absence of NSSI through bullying victimization and depressive symptoms. Paths to NSSI varied for girls and boys. Results further advance the understanding of longitudinal pathways from socioecological connectedness to NSSI in adolescent girls and boys.