Date Approved

7-5-2018

Embargo Period

7-9-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

MA Clinical Psychology

Department

Psychology

College

College of Science & Mathematics

First Advisor

Frierson, Georita M.

Second Advisor

Farkas, Lisa

Third Advisor

Fife, Dustin

Subject(s)

Self-mutilation; College students--Mental health

Disciplines

Clinical Psychology

Abstract

Background: As evidenced by the literature, there is an abundance of research on undergraduate students and mental health. One reason for this is due to the collegiate environment, which has previously been found to increase students' stress levels. When undergraduate students experience these increased levels of stress, they cope with the stress in different ways. Non-Suicidal self-injury (NSSI), one way in which students negatively cope, is an intentional act of harming oneself without suicidal intent. Cutting, burning, hitting oneself, and severe scratching are common ways that individuals self-injure. The Experiential Avoidance Model of Deliberate Self-Harm explains that non-suicidal self-injury is maintained through negative reinforcement of unwanted emotional expressions. Research on the relationship between psychiatric correlates and engagement in NSSI and level of physical health and engagement in NSSI has been examined previously. However, there's a paucity of literature on the examination as to how predictive a combination of physical and mental health is of engagement in NSSI. Methods: Undergraduate students (n=281) completed an online self-report survey that took approximately 30-45 minutes to complete. The survey asked questions about their demographics, the psychiatric correlates, physical health, and engagement in NSSI. Results: Two hierarchical logistic regressions yielded significant relationships between the mood variables (emotion regulation and affectivity) and engagement in NSSI (OR for emotion regulation = 1.02, OR for positive affect = 0.992, OR for negative affect = 1.05), as well as the regulation variables (emotion regulation and physical health) and engagement in NSSI (OR for physical health = 0.974, OR for emotion regulation = 1.03). The mood variables (emotion regulation and affectivity) were found to be slightly less predictive of engagement in NSSI than the regulation variables (emotion regulation and physical health). Conclusions: The presence of mood disturbances is significantly predictive of engagement in NSSI, as is being less regulated. The mood variables (emotion regulation and affectivity) are less predictive of engagement in NSSI than the regulation variables (emotion regulation and physical health). Implications: The results allow for the potential implementation of a screener across college wellness centers and clinical offices to stop or prevent this type of behavior.

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