Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects


Psychological Sciences

Document Type



College-aged individuals who identify with a sexual minority orientation are at high risk for non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) and suicidal behaviors. Research is lacking on identification of factors contributing to increased risk for this population. This study examined two facets of body investment, body protection and body feelings, as they relate to NSSI, individual and total suicidal behaviors, and sexual orientation. It was hypothesized that NSSI and individual suicidal behaviors would be more frequent in the sexual minority sample compared to the heterosexual sample, body protection and body feelings would be poorer in sexual minorities compared to the heterosexual sample, and low body protection and body feelings would be associated with increased NSSI and total suicidal behaviors. Results indicated no significant difference of prevalence of NSSI and suicidal behaviors between the heterosexual and sexual minority samples. However, sexual minorities reported more suicidal ideation. Increased suicidal behaviors and suicidal ideation, and decreased body protection were significantly correlated with sexual orientation. Decreased body protection was a significant predictor of NSSI frequency, and poor body feelings and decreased body protection were significant predictors of suicidal behavior for the whole sample. Findings of this study may provide direction for important sexual minority research and treatment.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Amy Brausch


Psychiatry and Psychology | Psychological Phenomena and Processes