Date of Award

Fall 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Director

Catherine R. Glenn

Committee Member

Abby L. Braitman

Committee Member

James M. Henson


Self-injurious thoughts and behaviors (SITBs) are a public health concern among youth. SITB rates rise drastically during adolescence -- a critical and sensitive developmental period characterized by dramatic changes in biological and social systems. Prior research has identified distal risk factors which tell us who is at risk for SITBs. Emerging research suggests proximal risk factors may be useful to identify when an individual may be at risk for SITBs. One promising proximal risk factor for SITBs is sleep problems. Although the relation between sleep problems and SITBs has been widely documented, little is known about the short-term, proximal links between nightmares, a specific sleep problem, and SITBs. Furthermore, our knowledge about the mechanisms through which nightmares increase risk for SITBs is limited, particularly in youth. The current study examined the emotion regulation mechanisms linking nightmares and SITBs in two clinically high-risk samples of youth by conducting secondary data analyses using data from two real-time monitoring studies. Results of this study provide more fine-grained evidence supporting the link between sleep problems and SITBs among high-risk youth. Further, this study found initial evidence supporting emotion regulation as a potential mechanism linking nightmares and SITBs, although results were mixed. Ultimately, findings from this research utilizing a real-time monitoring approach could inform proximal, modifiable targets for intervention to reduce SITB risk in youth.


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