Corresponding Author Information: Kelci C. Davis


Self-harm and personality psychopathology have been linked, with the most robust correlations existing between negative affectivity and self-harm (Franklin et al., 2010; Kaess et al., 2012). Psychological pain, an emotionally-based aversive feeling, has been linked to self-harm (Photos, 2011) and suicidal ideation (Meerwijk & Weiss, 2018; Shelef et al., 2015). Considering the connection between personality psychopathology and self-harm, it is possible an additional level of emotional distress enhances self-harm risk.


Analyses were conducted on 525 participants (M age=21.09) who primarily identified as cisgender female (80.2%) and white (22.9%).


Data were collected online from undergraduate students at a southwestern university. Participants were administered the Personality Inventory for DSM-5-Short Form (PID-5-SF), Self-Harm Inventory (SHI), and Mee-Bunney Psychological Pain Assessment Scale (MBPPAS).


Pearson correlations assessed the association between personality psychopathology and self-harm. Moderation analyses examined the moderating role of psychological pain.


Correlation analyses indicated self-harm was moderately correlated with Negative Affectivity (r=.38), Detachment (r=.36), Disinhibition (r=.39), and Psychoticism (r=.40). Additionally, self-harm was correlated with psychological pain (r=.45). When examining if psychological pain moderates the relationship between personality psychopathology and self-harm, there were mixed results. In the cases of Disinhibition (β=.08, t=2.00, p=.046) and Psychoticism (β=.10, t=2.26, p=.024), psychological pain enhanced an outcome of self-harm. There was no moderating effect on the relations with Negative Affect or Detachment.


Initial findings supported the significance psychological pain has on self-harm outcomes for those experiencing personality psychopathology; however, this varies depending on the maladaptive traits. Although the connection between Negative Affect and self-harm has been theorized to be multifaceted, it appears psychological pain does not exacerbate outcomes of self-harm. However, when Disinhibition or Psychoticism symptoms are present, psychological pain is a significant risk factor for self-harm behaviors and should be evaluated and addressed in the treatment process.


Kelci C. Davis | Sam Houston State University; Huntsville, Tx

Nicholas Sims-Rhodes | The University of Texas at Tyler; Tyler, Texas

Larissa A. Fernandez | Sam Houston State University; Huntsville, Tx

Jaime L. Anderson | Sam Houston State University; Huntsville, Tx

Kelci DavisKelci C. Davis

Kelci C. Davis (she/her) is a second-year doctoral student in Clinical Psychology. She works under Dr. Jaime Anderson at Sam Houston State University. Her research interests broadly include multicultural aspects of personality psychopathology and assessment, particularly in the gender and sexual minority community. Clinically, she does a combination of assessment, forensic work, and client-focused interventions. As a member of multiple diversity-oriented committees and organizations, she enjoys teaching and learning from others about all things diversity, equity, and inclusion. She is fueled by advocacy, caffeine, and wanting a better life for her beagle.

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