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Identifying and measuring key cognitions in suicidal and non-suicidal self-harm

Title: Identifying and measuring key cognitions in suicidal and non-suicidal self-harm

Funder: Medical Research Council

Amount: £166,587

Behavioural Science Centre Members: Andy Siddaway, Alex Wood

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Dr Andy Siddaway, a Registered Clinical Psychologist who recently joined the Behavioural Science Centre, has been awarded a prestigious and very competitive MRC Clinical Research Training Fellowship, to be mentored by Prof. Alex Wood. This Fellowship is designed to enable NHS clinicians to undertake specialised research training to cultivate their potential to become the research leaders of tomorrow. 

Andy’s project ‘Identifying and measuring key cognitions in suicidal and non-suicidal self-harm’ aims to uncover and then investigate the thoughts which drive suicidal and non-suicidal self-harm behaviour. The project will involve the development and validation of a self-report measure which examines the central thoughts behind self-harm. It is hoped that understanding these thoughts will help explain why some people initiate and/or repeat self-harm, and that the new measure can be used as part of clinical assessment, individually-tailored interventions, monitoring and outcome evaluation. The Fellowship has four main objectives: 

1) Develop and validate a psychometrically-robust self-report measure of key suicidal and non-suicidal self-harm cognitions in adults;

2) Use that measure to compare a cognitive explanation of self-harm against existing behavioural and functional theories of self-harm and known self-harm risk factors;

3)  Explore differences between suicidal and non-suicidal self-harm over time;

4)  Examine the extent to which self-harm cognitions are a cause and/or a consequence of psychological problems over time.

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