Item Details

The Functions of Deliberate Self-harm in College Students

Klonsky, Elisha David
Thesis/Dissertation; Online
Klonsky, Elisha David
Haidt, Jonathan
Marshall, Wende
Oltmanns, Tom
Turkheimer, Eric
Deliberate self - harm is defined as intentionally injuring oneself without suicidal intent. Numerous theories about why people self - harm have been proposed. Self - harm has been characterized as a means of punishing oneself, influencing others, replacing suicidal impulses, controlling sexual urges, regulating affect, ending dissociative episodes, and asserting one's autonomy. There have been relatively few attempts to evaluate these hypotheses empirically. For the present study, a semi - structured interview was developed to assess the functions of self - harm. The interview was administered to 39 college students who had cut themselves intentionally an average of 17 times. Items on the interview pertained to consequences (both positive and negative) of self - harm, feelings that precede, accompany, and follow self - harm episodes, and reasons for selfharming. Analyses yielded converging evidence that self - harm is an efficient means of alleviating acute negative affect. Results also indicated that self - harm fulfills additional functions (i.e., self - punishment, interpersonal influence, and sensation - seeking) for many participants, although usually in a secondary capacity. Findings are consistent with the small but growing body of empirical literature on the topic. Future research directions, possible mechanisms of affect - regulation, and treatment implications are discussed. Note: Abstract extracted from PDF file via OCR
University of Virginia, Department of Psychology, PHD (Doctor of Philosophy), 2005
Published Date
PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Libra ETD Repository
Logo for In CopyrightIn Copyright


Read Online