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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award

Spring 2018

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Schudlich, Tina Dawn Du Rocher

Second Advisor

Lehman, Barbara J.

Third Advisor

Ciao, Anna


Previous studies have demonstrated relationships between deliberate self-harm and psychological distress and social functioning (for a review see Nock, 2010). However, few studies have examined psychological distress and social functioning at the same time in order to compare these predictors of deliberate self-harm. Using a more comprehensive, psychosocial approach may allow more accurate predictions of deliberate self-harm. Accurate predictions could aid in the intervention and treatment of individuals who engage in deliberate self-harm, regardless of their population; that is, whether they are seeking treatment for symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder, or if they are a member of the community. In the current study, we used a sample of individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder (N = 60) and a community sample of undergraduate college students (N = 116), all of whom reported engaging in deliberate self-harm at least once in the past year. Participants completed measures of deliberate self-harm (outcome variable), psychological distress (specifically depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsion, and interpersonal sensitivity; predictor variables), and social functioning (positive support and negative interactions with family members, friends, and a romantic partner; predictor variables). We found that the population (or sample type) was the strongest predictor of deliberate self-harm, with individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder engaging in more deliberate self-harm than students. Additionally, anxiety predicted deliberate self-harm for individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder. No social functioning variables predicted deliberate self-harm. Explanations for findings and treatment implications are discussed.

Keywords: self-harm, distress, social support, Borderline Personality Disorder, student health




Self-harm, Distress, Social support, Borderline Personality Disorder, Student health



Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Parasuicide; Self-destructive behavior; Distress (Psychology); Social interaction; Interpersonal relations; Borderline personality disorder




masters theses




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