Direct and Indirect Peer Socialization of Adolescent Nonsuicidal Self-Injury


  • This work was supported in part by National Institutes of Health Grants R01-MH85505 and R01-HD055342 awarded to Mitchell J. Prinstein.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Matteo Giletta, Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Davie Hall, Campus Box 3270, Chapel Hill, NC 27599. E-mail:


This study examined direct and indirect forms of peer socialization of nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) in adolescent friendship networks. Data were collected among 348 adolescents (55% females; Mage = 15.02 years; SD = 0.53) at four assessment waves. Stochastic actor-based models revealed no evidence for direct socialization of NSSI: adolescents whose friends reported higher NSSI did not increase their NSSI over time. However, indirect forms of socialization were found. After controlling for direct socialization and selection effects, friends' depressive symptoms predicted changes in male and female adolescents' NSSI, and friends' impulsivity predicted changes in male adolescents' NSSI. Findings highlight the importance of extending peer influence research beyond the classical “modeling” paradigm by providing evidence that peers may indirectly socialize adolescents' NSSI.