AIM YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH SMARTPHONE PROJECT
We are currently exploring better ways to predict risk for self-harm and suicide in daily life. This study, funded by AIM Youth Mental Health (aimymh.org), uses smartphones to better assess moments of suicide/self-harm thoughts and behaviors among young adults across two universities (Fairleigh Dickinson University and Penn State University).
UNDERSTANDING THE "FAVORITE PERSON"
The term “favorite person” is used among individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD) to describe an idealized individual on whom they are emotionally dependent. While this term has valuable clinical and theoretical implications rooted in a deeper understanding of the lived experience of individuals with BPD, it is missing from the scholarly literature. Thus, this project aims to better define the “favorite person” concept and introduce it to the field through the use of a mixed-methods approach, placing its constituents within existing theoretical frameworks.
EXPLORING THE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN CSA, RISKY SEXUAL BEHAVIOR, AND BPD
This project has two goals. First, childhood sexual abuse (CSA) has repeatedly been identified as a risk factor for the eventual development of borderline personality disorder (BPD) symptoms. However, not all those who have experienced CSA develop symptoms of BPD. Drawing inspiration from the forensic literature on how victims disclose their sexual abuse experiences and from Marsha Linehan’s biosocial theory of BPD, we aim to explore how the disclosure experience of CSA victims may relate to the endorsement of BPD symptoms.
Second, CSA has been repeatedly linked to later engagement in risky sexual behavior. Separately, BPD has also been positively related to engagement in risky sexual behavior. Thus, we aim to explore how CSA experiences in childhood uniquely impact risky sexual behavior in individuals with BPD symptoms.
NARCISSISM AND SUICIDALITY
Most studies that have examined the association between narcissism and suicide have yielded mixed findings regarding this relationship. Recent research on the structure of narcissism has shown it to be a multidimensional construct. We plan to conduct a meta-analysis on the relations between three levels of narcissism (i.e., at the global level, at the two-factor level and at the trifurcated level) and different forms of suicidality (e.g., suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, and lethality).
This project aims to shed light on the mixed findings regarding how narcissism is linked to suicidality and highlight the importance of studying personality constructs at a finer-grained level when predicting behavioral outcomes.