Paper Type

Master's Thesis


College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Arts in General Psychology (MAGP)



NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Tracy Alloway

Second Advisor

Dr. Brian Fisak

Department Chair

Dr. Michael Toglia

College Dean

Dr. Barbara Hetrick


Current research on factors predicting self-harm focus on disparate factors and may not be able to comprehensively explain the mechanisms causing self-harm. The aim of the current study was to examine factors that may be related yet independently predict self-harm. Factors discussed include rumination, self-criticism, and working memory. A binary logistic regression found that the only factor that predicted the presence of self-harming behavior was a high level of self-criticism. Further, a Classification and Regression Tree found that the single strongest predictor of self-harming behavior was a belief that love needs to be continually earned from others. Our findings have implications for improving the efficacy of interventions aimed at preventing self-harm, which traditionally have been ineffective. Treatments incorporating ways to reduce self-criticism, such as a focus on improving self-compassion with Compassionate Mind Training, may address underlying mechanisms that can trigger self-harm behavior.