Graduate Program

Clinical Psychology

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Russell E. Gruber


Non-Suicidal Self-Injury (NSSI) is a behavior done with the intent of harming oneself without the intent to commit suicide. NSSI includes many different behaviors including cutting, hitting, and burning oneself. NSSI has been associated with anxiety, depression, and emotion focused coping styles. This study aimed to learn more about the prevalence of NSSI among adults and to learn more about the relationship between NSSI, locus of control, anxiety, depression, and coping styles. Results found that lifetime prevalence of NSSI was high (54.8%). This is significantly larger than previous studies have found. Possible reasons for this discrepancy include: an increase in lifetime prevalence, using different definitions of NSSI, and methodological differences. Those who reported engaging in NSSI had higher anxiety and depression scores as well as a more external locus of control. Those who reported engaging in NSSI were more likely to endorse having an avoidance coping style. Measurement of engagement in NSSI is difficult and this makes it challenging to examine results. A clear definition of NSSI is needed to proceed further with research and a better measurement tool based on that definition is needed to accurately collect data. Future research would also benefit from separating those who have a lifetime engagement of NSSI from those who are currently engaging in NSSI.

Included in

Psychology Commons