University of Leicester
2013ForsterjDClinpsy.pdf (2.04 MB)

Linking Adolescent Personality Characteristics with Aggression and Non-Suicidal Self-Injury

Download (2.04 MB)
posted on 2013-03-13, 10:16 authored by Jeanette Forster
The thesis examined the evidence base for psychological interventions for the treatment and prevention of adolescents with callous-unemotional characteristics exhibiting aggression and self-harm behaviours. The research process has three sections. Self-Contained Literature Review: Within the adult literature Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) is recognised as an effective treatment with adults presenting with suicidal ideation and self-harm. Clinicians have adapted the adult DBT programme for adolescents (DBT-A) and the review paper considered the literature base for the effectiveness of the adapted intervention for adolescents who exhibited suicidal ideation and self-harm behaviours. The review critically appraised ten quantitative studies that employed either comparison groups (4 studies) or a pre-post design (6 studies). The results suggested DBT was effective in reducing symptoms of suicidal ideation and self-harm behaviours, in additional to ameliorating other mental health problems. There were issues with confounding variables and the delivery of the DBT-A programmes were varied across studies. Future research needs to be of a higher quality. Research Report: The empirical study was conducted within medium secure facilities with 76 in-patient adolescents to explore the associations of aggression (proactive and reactive) and non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) with callous-unemotional (CU) traits. CU traits consisted of three dimensions of behaviour, callousness, uncaring, and unemotional that might designate a subgroup of inpatient adolescents. A number of significant associations were identified between the components of CU traits and proactive aggression and reactive aggression. The findings suggested that adolescents characterised by higher levels of CU traits were more than likely to exhibit combined proactive and reactive aggression. Those young people who exhibited NSSI scored higher on the unemotional dimension of CU traits. The findings were discussed in the context of existing research. Critical Appraisal: A personal account of the researcher’s reflections on the research process was provided in the critical appraisal.



Allan, Steven; Wheatley, Malcolm

Date of award


Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • DClinPsy



Usage metrics

    University of Leicester Theses


    No categories selected



    Ref. manager