The Psychology of Self-Injury: Exploring Self-Harm & Mental Health

Monitoring Self-Injury in Real Time, with Dr. Glenn Kiekens

Episode Summary

Glenn Kiekens, PhD, from KU Leuven University in Belgium discusses how researchers measure self-injury and self-harm in real time using advances in technology.

Episode Notes

How do we assess self-injury differently than 20-30 years ago? Rather than asking someone to remember how they were thinking and feeling when they last self-injured days, weeks, and even months ago, advances in technology allow researchers and clinicians to monitor self-injury and self-harm in real time, as it occurs. In this episode, Dr. Glenn Kiekens discusses the advantages of adapting real-time monitoring (also known as experience sampling or ecological momentary assessment [EMA]) in researching nonsuicidal self-injury as well as the ethical concerns to consider when doing research in real time. 

Learn more about Dr. Kiekens and his work in the Center for Contextual Psychiatry at KU Leuven by clicking here. Follow Dr. Kiekens on Twitter @GKiekens. Below are links to some of his research and the resources referenced in this episode:

Opening the black box of daily life in non-suicidal self-injury research: With great opportunity comes great responsibility (preprint available at

Fluctuations in affective states and self-efficacy to resist non-suicidal self-injury as real-time predictors of non-suicidal self-injurious thoughts and behaviors (2020)

Consensus statement on ethical & safety practices for conducting digital monitoring studies with people at risk of suicide and related behaviors (Nock et al., 2020)

Revealing the form and function of self-injurious thoughts and behaviors: A real-time ecological assessment study among adolescents and young adults (Nock, Prinstein, & Sterba, 2009)

Changes in ecological momentary assessment reported affect associated with episodes of nonsuicidal self-Injury (Armey, Crowther, & Miller, 2011)

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