Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Although self-injury seems to be a current hot topic in the media, little research has been conducted on the possible addictive nature of self-injurious behaviors. Faye (1995) found that self-injury has a number of characteristics that have also been identified in the behaviors of drug and alcohol addicts, including similarities in origin in emotions experienced, in family structure, and in the repetitive nature of tension-release responses (Favazza & Conterio, 1988; Faye, 1995). Derouin and Bravender (2004) found that self-injury has an addictive quality, because many self-injurers develop an overwhelming preoccupation with the relief experienced after an episode of self-injury. Sharing many of the same addictive qualities those who suffer from chemical dependency, self-injurers often continue to harm themselves despite negative consequences or the knowledge that self-injury is indeed a problem. The fact that many self-injurers report feeling like they are addicted to harming themselves lends more evidence to the idea. Using an adapted version of the Ottawa/Queen's Self-Mutilation Questionnaire, the results found significance in eleven of the fifteen hypotheses put forth at the beginning of the study, The results also suggested that many respondents appeared to have built a tolerance to the effects of their self-injuring behaviors, and they experienced withdrawal symptoms if they stopped self-injuring for a period of time. These results lend credit to the idea that self-injury is, in fact, related to addiction.


Carol L. Patrick

Date of Award

Fall 2007

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 2007 Tawny L. Voyles


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