Evaluating the Effectiveness of a Brief Mindfulness Activity in University Students With Non-Sicidal Self-Injury Egagement

Amanda Argento, Amanda Simundic, Jessica Mettler, Devin J. Mills, Nancy L. Heath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Current theoretical frameworks posit that engagement in non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) is due to an inability to regulate one’s emotions. In turn, mindfulness-based interventions have been shown to enhance emotion regulatory processes in those who engage in NSSI. Objective. The purpose of the present study was to determine whether a brief mindfulness activity was differentially effective at increasing state mindfulness and decreasing stress following a stress induction task in university students with versus without a history of NSSI engagement. Method. The sample consisted of two groups of participants who identified as women: participants with a history of NSSI engagement (NSSI; n = 57; Mage =20.09, SD = 2.05) and participants without (no-NSSI; n = 87; M age=20.22, SD = 1.94). All participants were asked to complete pre-intervention measures of state mindfulness and stress and were randomly assigned to either a mindfulness activity (body scan) or control task condition. Following the completion of their respective activities, a Stroop stress induction task was conducted and participants completed post-intervention measures of state mindfulness and stress. Results. Two 3-way mixed ANOVAs (Time X NSSI status X Condition) were conducted and revealed significant time by condition interactions for both state mindfulness, Wilk’s Λ =.93, F(1, 140) = 10.70, p =.001, ηp2 =.07, and stress, Wilk’s Λ =.97, F(1, 140) = 4.21, p =.04, ηp2 =.03. As such, both groups (NSSI/no-NSSI) demonstrated similar increases in state mindfulness and decreases in stress in response to the brief mindfulness activity following the stress induction. Implications for future research and practice will be discussed.HIGHLIGHTS The brief mindfulness activity effectively increased state mindfulness. The brief mindfulness activity effectively decreased stress. Benefits were experienced similarly among both groups (NSSI/no-NSSI).

Original languageEnglish
JournalArchives of Suicide Research
StateAccepted/In press - 2020


  • mindfulness
  • non-suicidal self-injury
  • stress


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