Publication Date

Summer 2018

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Amy Brausch (Director), Diane Lickenbrock, and Aaron Wichman

Degree Program

Department of Psychological Sciences

Degree Type

Master of Science


Eating disorders and non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) are pervasive behaviors that typically begin in early to mid-adolescence. They commonly co-occur, resulting in increasingly negative psychological and physical outcomes than either behavior alone. Emotion reactivity and family functioning have been studied in relation to both eating disorders and NSSI. Both constructs have demonstrated strong relationships to these behaviors, but emotion reactivity appears to be more strongly associated with NSSI, while family functioning appears to be more strongly related to eating disorders. The current study sought to determine whether emotion reactivity and family functioning could differentiate between adolescents with only an eating disorder, only NSSI, or both behaviors. Data were collected from 229 adolescents in both inpatient and outpatient treatment programs who reported either a diagnosed eating disorder, past week NSSI, or both. Results indicated that increased emotion reactivity increased the likelihood that an individual was categorized in the NSSI only group compared to the eating disorder group and the comorbid group. There was no main effect for family functioning across all analyses. Based on these results, emotion reactivity may be an important variable to consider in distinguishing between adolescents with eating disorders who may or may not engage in NSSI, and may provide further insight when examined longitudinally


Applied Behavior Analysis | Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms | Mental Disorders | Psychiatry and Psychology