Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Kyle P. De Young
Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI; deliberate harm to the self) and eating disorders frequently co-occur, and both place an individual at increased risk for suicide. Individuals who report NSSI are similar to those that report eating disorder behaviors on emotion regulation, impulsivity, and pain tolerance. Thus, the current study aimed to investigate how the relationship between NSSI and eating disorder behaviors is best understood, based on the intent of the behavior (e.g., “to hurt myself”) or the function (e.g., “I became less angry”). Participants were 493 undergraduate students (80% female; 90% white) who completed an online survey regarding lifetime NSSI and eating disorder behaviors. Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) was used to test whether a hypothesized model based on function of NSSI and eating disorder behaviors would fit study data better than a hypothesized model based on intent. Both the final intent and function models yielded an excellent fit; the models were not statistically different from one another, Δ χ2(1) = 0.576, p = .45. The intent model accounted for 14% of the variance in eating disorder behaviors and 62% in NSSI, while the function model accounted for 19% of the variance in eating disorder behaviors and 51% in NSSI. These findings are consistent with previous literature in terms of emotion regulation being a function of both NSSI and eating disorder behaviors. However, in both models, there was an inverse relationship between eating disorder behaviors and NSSI, which is inconsistent with existing literature. Thus, a second series of models were run; a positive relationship between NSSI and eating disorders was found. This study sheds light on the complex nature of empirically derived categorization or continuums, such that these behaviors may lie on a continuum of emotion regulation and have other distinct factors, such as appearance change, which may inform treatments.
Goodman, Erica Goodman, "An Investigation Of The Latent Structure Of Eating Disorder Behaviors And Non-Suicidal Self-Injury (nssi)" (2017). Theses and Dissertations. 2219.