E. David Klonsky, University of British Columbia

Profile photo of E. David Klonsky, expert at University of British Columbia

Professor Psychology Vancouver, British Columbia EDKlonsky@gmail.com edklonsky@psych.ubc.ca Office: (604) 822-5972

Bio/Research

The PEBLab examines aspects of emotion and personality that dispose individuals to engage in maladaptive behaviours such as non-suicidal self-injury and suicide. The lab utilizes self-report questionnaires, clinical interviews, and measures of central and autonomic nervous system activity.
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Bio/Research

The PEBLab examines aspects of emotion and personality that dispose individuals to engage in maladaptive behaviours such as non-suicidal self-injury and suicide. The lab utilizes self-report questionnaires, clinical interviews, and measures of central and autonomic nervous system activity.

A primary focus of the lab is suicide. We are particularly interested in understanding the transition from suicidal ideation to suicide attempt. For example, we examines characteristics that distinguish suicide attempters from those who have only considered suicide (e.g., Klonsky & May, 2010, Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior), as well as differences between instances of suicidal ideation that do versus do not lead to a suicide attempt. Our research is guided by an emphasis on functional assessment, as well as a desire-capability framework in which variables motivating suicide (e.g., psychological and interpersonal distress) are considered independently from variables increasing capability for suicide (e.g., access to lethal means, diminished ability to anticipate consequences of suicidal behaviour, habituation to self-inflicted violence).

A second and emerging focus of the lab is emotion and emotion regulation (e.g., Weinberg & Klonsky, 2009, Psychological Assessment; and Glenn, Blumenthal, Klonsky, & Hajcak, 2011, International Journal of Psychophysiology). We are interested in the differentiation and assessment of emotional components such as reactivity vs. regulation, and sensitivity vs. intensity vs. persistence using both self-report and psychophysiological measures. In addition, the lab is working to develop a model of basic emotions that can integrate both dimensional and discrete emotion perspectives.

A third focus of the lab is non-suicidal self-injury, defined as the intentional and direct destruction of body tissue without suicidal intent (e.g., skin-cutting or burning). The lab primarily views self-injury as a means of coping with intense and overwhelming negative emotions, and especially high-arousal and self-directed negative emotions. Our research examines the phenomenology, functions, and mental health implications of self-injury (e.g., Klonsky, 2007, Clinical Psychology Review; and Klonsky, Oltmanns, & Turkheimer, 2003, American Journal of Psychiatry). We have also developed a functional measure of self-injury (Klonsky & Glenn, 2009, Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment; ISAS -- Measure).

A fourth focus of the lab is Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) (e.g., Klonsky, 2008, Journal of Personality Disorders; and Glenn & Klonsky, 2009, Journal of Personality Disorders), including relationships among key aspects of BPD such as emotional instability, impulsivity, and suicide/self-harm. We view emotional instability as the central feature of BPD that leads to the other BPD symptoms such as impulsive behaviours, suicidality, and relationship problems.


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