College of Arts & Sciences

Date of Award

Spring 5-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Jim Olson, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Kevin Harris, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Janet Carter, Ph.D.

Abstract

Non-Suicidal Self-Injury (NSSI) refers to behaviors in which a person intentionally harms and causes tissue damage to oneself, without the desire to end his or her life. There have been contradictory findings with regard to differences in NSSI by biological sex and culture. In this study, I sought to examine if adults with independent cultural self- construals would report more occurrences of NSSI in comparison to those with interdependent cultural self-construals. Furthermore, I was interested in whether females would report more instances of NSSI in comparison to males in independent based cultures, and I examined whether the methods and reasons for using NSSI would differ for those with independent and interdependent self-construals. Participants completed the Inventory of Statements about Self-Injury (ISAS), an assessment for people who use NSSI, and the Self-Construal Scale (SCS), a questionnaire that asks about one’s cultural beliefs. Due to an insufficient number of male participants, hypotheses related to biological sex could not be tested. There were no significant differences in the prevalence of NSSI between independent and interdependent self-construals found. The results showed that the method of cutting was higher among people with independent self- construal in comparison to people with interdependent self-construal. Some of the reasons for using NSSI were higher among independent versus interdependent self- construal participants. More replications of this study need to be conducted before these findings can be generalized.

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