Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Non-suicidal self-injury and eating disorder behaviors have begun to be linked frequently in recent research. Few studies have examined the functions of either non-suicidal self-injury or eating disorder behaviors and no known studies have examined the function of both behaviors simultaneously. The current study explored the functions of non-suicidal self-injury and compared it to the functions of eating disorder behaviors. It was hypothesized that a factor structure describing the functions of non-suicidal self-injury would also adequately describe the functions of eating disorder behavior. The current study also compared comorbid psychopathology and perfectionism rates among individuals who engaged in non-suicidal self-injury, eating disorder behaviors, and those who engaged in both non-suicidal self-injury and eating disorder behaviors. The study population included 1219 individuals who completed a series of questionnaires on an internet survey pertaining to demographics, functions of the behaviors, comorbid psychopathology, and perfectionism. Results demonstrated that an 11 factor structure adequately described the functions of non-suicidal self-injury and was similar to the 13 scales offered by the Inventory of Statements about Self-Injury. Examining superordinate factors using the original 13 scales demonstrated that a four-factor structure, similar to behavior models represented in previous literature, could describe non-suicidal self-injury. The function of eating disorder behaviors was best described by an eight factor structure, though this was thematically similar to the functions of non-suicidal self-injury. Rates of psychopathology were generally higher among individuals who engaged in both non-suicidal self-injury and eating disorder behaviors than among individuals who engaged in just on behavior. Perfectionism rates were also highest among participants who engaged in both behaviors. Implications of results and suggestions for further research are described.
Peyerl, Naomi L., "A Comparison of the Functions of Eating Disorder Behaviors to Non-Suicidal, Self-Injury" (2010). Theses and Dissertations. 1034.