Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Amy Brausch (Director), Stephen O'Connor, Aaron Wichman

Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Non-Suicidal Self-Injury (NSSI) is the self-inflicted damage to one’s bodily tissues without the intent to die. Previous research has sought to discover the motivation of an individual to perform such behavior and differences in the experience of pain among those who self-injure. The goals for the current study were to reveal any relationships between the function of NSSI, the subjective experience of pain, and an objective measurement of pressure pain threshold. Participants completed the Inventory of Statements About Self- Injury (ISAS; Klonsky & Glenn, 2009), which measures the functions that NSSI serves, and a measure assessing subjective pain experience, specifically frequency and severity of pain. Pain thresholds were also induced and recorded using a pressure algometer. The findings suggest that pain frequency significantly predicted pain threshold, whereas subjective pain severity did not. Furthermore, marking distress, the function of NSSI which serves as creating a tangible representation of emotional distress, was significantly associated with pain frequency, such that as marking distress increases in relevance, the less often one would be expected to experience pain. Therefore, the current study has implications relevant to both future research and the clinical setting.


Applied Behavior Analysis | Child Psychology | Pain Management | Psychology