Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dr. Elizabeth Jones (Director), Dr. Rick Grieve, Dr. Carl Myers

Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Specialist in Education


This investigation examined school counselors’ perceptions and levels of knowledge in regard to nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI), existing school prevention and protocol, resources and training opportunities available, as well as identified training needs. NSSI is the socially unaccepted, deliberate, self-inflicted harm of an individual’s body to reduce psychological distress with out the intention to die as a consequence (Simeon & Favazza, 2001). As a mental health professional in the schools, school counselors are often salient figures in adolescents’ educational environment. They are also many times the most appropriately qualified individuals to work with self-injuring adolescents in the school setting. While existing studies have identified some needs of school counselors, no studies have looked at the existing knowledge and the quality of knowledge (Kibler, 2009; Roberts-Dobie & Donatelle, 2007). The purpose of this study was to conduct a survey of practicing school counselors in order to obtain information about their knowledge, training opportunities, resources, and school responses in regard to NSSI. On a knowledge measure based on Jeffrey and Warm’s (2002) myths and accurate statements about NSSI, school counselors performed no differently than school psychologists, but evidenced significantly greater knowledge than teachers. Qualitative analysis on individual survey items indicated that respondents evidenced good understanding of 60% of items, problematic understanding of 40%, and poor understanding of no items. While the sample generally evidenced high knowledge of most items, several inaccuracies were present, specifically in regarding to the association of NSSI to psychopathologies, environmental risk factors, and functions of the behavior. Additionally, respondents indicated a lack of training specific to NSSI, limited presence of school response plans specific NSSI, and an expressed need for more training and resources on the topic.


Counseling Psychology | Health Psychology | Personality and Social Contexts | Psychology