Larissa Grundmanis, Psy.D., is a 2023 graduate of the Psy.D. Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, New England

Dissertation Committee:

  • Karen Meteyer, PhD, Committee Chair
  • Gina Pasquale, PsyD, Committee Member
  • Rosalyn DeVincentis, PsyD, Committee Member


non-suicidal self-injury, NSSI, attachment style, self-harm, preoccupied attachment, secure attachment, insecure attachment, adult attachment

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Non-suicidal self-injury, or NSSI, can be defined as the “intentional, self-inflicted destruction of body tissue performed without suicidal intent using methods that are not socially sanctioned” (Martin et al., 2017, p. 425). Lifetime prevalence has been found to be between 5.9% and 18% (Cassels et al., 2019; Klonsky, 2011), indicating that there is a need to understand NSSI so that individuals can be helped to reduce the frequency of their harming behaviors. There is reason to believe that one’s attachment style is associated with the engagement of NSSI (e.g., Wrath & Adams, 2019). Research shows mixed results regarding the types of adult attachment styles (secure, preoccupied, fearful, dismissive) that are and are not associated with NSSI. The current study sought to clarify discrepancies by examining the association between NSSI and adult attachment styles in a sample of 445 young adults, where 196 (44.0%) individuals stated that they have never engaged in NSSI, and 249 (56.0%) who have engaged in NSSI before. Results suggested there was a significant association between fearful and preoccupied attachment styles and NSSI, and that secure attachment was significantly correlated with not engaging in NSSI. Moreover, the fearful attachment style was correlated with scratching, preoccupied attachment was correlated with biting, and lower dismissive attachment scores were correlated with burning and biting. Significant differences in the reasons why someone engaged in NSSI were found regarding attachment styles and specific NSSI behaviors. This research is important because it helps show justifications for why someone engages in NSSI, that different levels of attachment traits exist, and that even those with secure attachment traits can still engage in NSSI behaviors.


Larissa Grundmanis

ORCID Scholar ID# 0000-0002-9614-3182