Date of Award

Summer 8-21-2015

Level of Access Assigned by Author

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Sandra T. Sigmon

Second Committee Member

Douglas Nangle

Third Committee Member

Geoffrey Thorpe


Research has implicated emotion regulation as having an important negative role in nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI). A model using predictors of emotion regulation and personal vulnerability characteristics was examined to predict the occurrence of NSSI using self-report data collected via a web-based survey from 756 students at a rural northeastern university.

Results suggest that both discriminant analysis and logistic regression were similar at predicting NSSI with approximately 67% accuracy and support NSSI as a function of intrapersonal negative reinforcement. Specifically, indicators of poor psychiatric health, including higher levels of anxiety, avoidant behavior, rumination, depressive symptoms, trauma symptoms, and dissociation and lower levels of self-esteem increased the probability of NSSI. Furthermore, symptoms of depression, trauma, and dissociation were found to be an almost complete mediator between unproductive management of self-perceived distress and NSSI as well as a partial mediator between neurotic traits and NSSI. Indicators of psychopathology, self-perceived distress, and ineffective attempts at coping, whether constructive or non-constructive, appear to significantly contribute to increased risk of NSSI.