Self-injurious behaviors (SIBs) and problematic shopping (PS) are both prevalent in adolescents. These behaviors have been proposed as behavioral addictions and linked to impulsivity (Imp) and sensation-seeking (SS). They are also associated with negative mental health and psychosocial measures. This study examined relationships between PS and SIB in adolescents. It also examined how PS and SIB relate to Imp and SS, and interactions between PS and SIB in relation to health/functioning measures.
Survey data from 2,624 Connecticut high-school students were evaluated using chi-square analyses. Next, logistic regression models were used to assess relationships between PS and measures of SIB. T-tests compared Imp and SS in adolescents with and without PS and SIB. Interaction analyses assessed effects of PS on relationships between SIB and health/functioning measures.
Adolescents with PS had 3.43-fold higher odds of endorsing lifetime SIB than those without PS, and were more likely to exhibit severe SIB and disruption due to SIB. PS and SIB were associated with elevated Imp and SS. Interaction analyses revealed that in adolescents with PS, the relationships between SIB and substance use was weaker than in adolescents without PS. This suggests PS accounts for variance in relationships between SIB and substance use.
PS is strongly related to SIB prevalence, severity, and impairment in adolescents, and weakens associations between SIB and substance use. PS should therefore be considered for prevention efforts for SIB. Further research should investigate mechanisms connecting PS and SIB and explore possible interventions targeting associated features like Imp and SS.