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Although non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) is known typically to begin in adolescence, longitudinal information is lacking about patterns, predictors, and clinical outcomes of NSSI persistence among emerging adults. The present study was designed to (1) estimate NSSI persistence during the college period, (2) identify risk factors and high-risk students for NSSI persistence patterns, and (3) evaluate the association with future mental disorders and suicidal thoughts and behaviors (STB).
Using prospective cohorts from the Leuven College Surveys (n = 5915), part of the World Mental Health International College Student Initiative, web-based surveys assessed mental health and psychosocial problems at college entrance and three annual follow-up assessments.
Approximately one in five (20.4%) students reported lifetime NSSI at college entrance. NSSI persistence was estimated at 56.4%, with 15.6% reporting a high-frequency repetitive pattern (≥five times yearly). Many hypothesized risk factors were associated with repetitive NSSI persistence, with the most potent effects observed for pre-college NSSI characteristics. Multivariate models suggest that an intervention focusing on the 10–20% at the highest predicted risk could effectively reach 34.9–56.7% of students with high-frequency repetitive NSSI persistence (PPV = 81.8–93.4, AUC = 0.88–0.91). Repetitive NSSI persistence during the first two college years predicted 12-month mental disorders, role impairment, and STB during the third college year, including suicide attempts.
Most emerging adults with a history of NSSI report persistent self-injury during their college years. Web-based screening may be a promising approach for detecting students at risk for a highly persistent NSSI pattern characterized by subsequent adverse outcomes.
Although non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) is an issue of major concern to colleges worldwide, we lack detailed information about the epidemiology of NSSI among college students. The objectives of this study were to present the first cross-national data on the prevalence of NSSI and NSSI disorder among first-year college students and its association with mental disorders.
Data come from a survey of the entering class in 24 colleges across nine countries participating in the World Mental Health International College Student (WMH-ICS) initiative assessed in web-based self-report surveys (20 842 first-year students). Using retrospective age-of-onset reports, we investigated time-ordered associations between NSSI and Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-IV) mood (major depressive and bipolar disorder), anxiety (generalized anxiety and panic disorder), and substance use disorders (alcohol and drug use disorder).
NSSI lifetime and 12-month prevalence were 17.7% and 8.4%. A positive screen of 12-month DSM-5 NSSI disorder was 2.3%. Of those with lifetime NSSI, 59.6% met the criteria for at least one mental disorder. Temporally primary lifetime mental disorders predicted subsequent onset of NSSI [median odds ratio (OR) 2.4], but these primary lifetime disorders did not consistently predict 12-month NSSI among respondents with lifetime NSSI. Conversely, even after controlling for pre-existing mental disorders, NSSI consistently predicted later onset of mental disorders (median OR 1.8) as well as 12-month persistence of mental disorders among students with a generalized anxiety disorder (OR 1.6) and bipolar disorder (OR 4.6).
NSSI is common among first-year college students and is a behavioral marker of various common mental disorders.
The Leuven Affect and Pleasure Scale (LAPS) was developed as an outcome measure in major depressive disorder (MDD) tha treflects patient treatment expectations. The present report investigates whether the LAPS negative affect, the LAPS positive affect, and the LAPS hedonic tone have added value on top of the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAMD) in explaining generic as well as patient-centered outcomes.
A total of 109 outpatients with Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition, criteria for MDD were assessed over 8 weeks of antidepressant treatment. At baseline and after 2, 4, and 8 weeks, the LAPS, HAMD, Snaith–Hamilton Pleasure Scale (SHAPS), Positive and Negative Affect Scale (PANAS), and Sheehan Disability Scale were administered. The Clinical Global Impression of Improvement (CGI-I) and the Patient Global Impression of Improvement (PGI-I) were also administered at endpoint.
Changes in LAPS negative affect, LAPS positive affect, and LAPS hedonic tone explain 14% of the additional variance in CGI-I, 21% in PGI-I, 37% in cognitive functioning, 32% in overall functioning, 31% in “my life is meaningful,” and 45% in “I feel happy.” Compared to standard scales (PANAS and SHAPS), the LAPS negative affect, LAPS positive affect, and LAPS hedonic tone differentiate better between different levels of CGI-I or PGI-I.
The LAPS has added value (on top of the HAMD) in explaining changes in both generic outcomes (CGI-I/PGI-I) and patient-centered dimensions. The LAPS negative and positive affects and the LAPS hedonic tone differentiate CGI-I and PGI-I scores better than corresponding scales supposed to cover the same domains.
The Leuven Affect and Pleasure Scale (LAPS) is a depression outcome measure aiming to better reflect patient treatment expectations. We investigated the evolution of the LAPS and some comparator scales during antidepressant treatment and compared scores of remitters with scores of healthy controls.
A total of 109 outpatients with Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition (DSM-5) major depressive disorder were assessed over 8 weeks of antidepressant treatment. At baseline and after 2, 4, and 8 weeks, the LAPS as well as the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAMD), the Snaith–Hamilton Pleasure Scale (SHAPS), the Positive and Negative Affect Scale (PANAS), and the Sheehan Disability Scale (SDS) were administered. Healthy controls consisted of 38 Italian adults and 111 Belgian students.
Correlations between baseline positive and negative affect were only moderate (R between −0.20 and −0.41). LAPS positive affect and hedonic tone showed higher correlations with LAPS cognitive functioning, overall functioning, meaningfulness of life, and happiness than HAMD scores or PANAS negative affect. HAMD remission was associated with normal levels of LAPS negative affect but with significantly lower levels of LAPS positive affect, hedonic tone, cognitive functioning, overall functioning, meaningfulness of life, and happiness. The scores on the latter subscales only reached healthy control scores when the HAMD approached a score of 0 or 1.
The standard definition of remission (HAMD cutoff of 7) is probably adequate for remitting negative mood, but not good enough for recovering positive mood, hedonic tone, functioning, or meaningfulness of life.
Presence of negative mood (depressed mood) and anhedonia (lack of interest and pleasure) are considered core symptoms of depression, while absence of positive mood is not taken into account. It is therefore remarkable that the depression scales routinely used to assess changes during antidepressant treatment (Hamilton Depression Rating Scale [HDRS], Montgomery–Åsberg Depression Rating Scale [MADRS]) do not really take into account anhedonia. Several scales were developed to assess positive mood and hedonic tone, but they only partially cover the multidimensional concept. Therefore we developed a new 16-item questionnaire, the Leuven Affect and Pleasure Scale (LAPS), to assess negative affect, positive affect, and hedonic tone.
This first article on the LAPS questionnaire reports on the correlations between the different items, on the factor analysis, and on the differences found in 3 groups of subjects : healthy college students (N=138), depressed but still functioning college students (N=27), and severely depressed inpatients (N=38). These differences were calculated using univariate general linear models with Bonferroni post-hoc testing, and effect sizes were expressed in η2.
Negative and positive affect were only moderately correlated, and the 4 independent variables (cognitive functioning, overall functioning, meaningful life, and happiness) had stronger correlations with positive affect than with negative affect. The major difference in negative affect was between healthy college students and depressed college students, positive affect was different between the 3 groups, and the major difference for hedonic tone was between depressed college students and depressed inpatients. Affiliative positive affect and the affiliative hedonic function were well preserved, even in depressed inpatients.
This preliminary report suggests that the LAPS offers a comprehensive assessment of negative and positive affect, of hedonic tone, and of independent variables (cognitive functioning, overall functioning, meaningful life, and happiness). Clinically relevant differences in subscores were found in 3 groups of subjects with variable levels of depression (healthy subjects, mildly depressed subjects, and severely depressed inpatients).
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