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

Dissertation Committee:

  • Martha B. Straus, PhD, Committee Chair
  • Karen Meteyer, PhD, Committee Member
  • Roger M. Peterson, PhD, Committee Member

Keywords

nonsuicidal self-injury, self-harm, disclosure, stigma, affect regulation

Document Type

Dissertation

Publication Date

2023

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore several unknown issues regarding disclosure of nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) among users of social media. NSSI is a category of behaviors that cause intentional harm to the body without the intent to commit suicide. However, individuals who self-injure may unintentionally risk serious and even life-threatening harm. Moreover, the stigma and resultant shame associated with NSSI discourage reporting and thus complicate research into the behavior. This study examined the factors involved in individuals’ decisions to disclose NSSI. The current study uses primarily descriptive statistics from an internet-based survey to explore the following questions: (a) Are there demographic differences between those who choose to disclose in real life (IRL) and those who do not? (b) Are IRL self-disclosers more likely than IRL nondisclosers to endorse pro-social and help-seeking motivations for disclosure over provocative motivations? (c) Do individuals who self-disclose IRL self-injure more frequently compared to IRL nondisclosers? (d) To whom are self-disclosers most likely to disclose? and (e) Are participants more likely to report SD-OL than SD-IRL? Disclosers and nondisclosers were demographically similar. Disclosers most frequently endorsed help-seeking motivations for self-disclosure. Disclosers were no more likely than nondisclosers to endorse high incidence of NSSI. Sixty-two percent of respondents disclosed IRL, and 57.3% of the sample disclosed online. Recommendations for clinical practice based on these results are discussed.

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Matthew Tanner

ORCID Scholar ID# 0009-0002-1585-2209

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