Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Measurement and Evaluation

Major Professor

Robert Dedrick, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Carol A. Bryant, Ph.D.

Committee Member

John Ferron, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Nancy Heath, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Tony Onwuegbuzie, Ph.D.


Youth, Segmentation, Self-harm, CHAID, YRBS


This study described self-injury within a general adolescent population. This study involved secondary analysis of data gathered using the middle school Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) from 1,748 sixth- and eighth-grade students in eight middle schools in a large, southeastern county in Florida. A substantial percentage of students surveyed (28.4%) had tried self-injury. The prevalence of having ever tried self-injury did not vary by race or ethnicity, grade, school attended, or age but did differ by gender. When controlling for all other variables in the multivariate model including suicide, having ever tried self-injury was associated with peer self-injury, inhalant use, belief in possibilities, abnormal eating behaviors, and suicide scale scores. Youth who knew a friend who had self-injured, had used inhalants, had higher levels of abnormal eating behaviors, and higher levels of suicidal tendencies were at increased risk for having tried self-injury. Youth who had high belief in their possibilities were at decreased risk for having tried self-injury. During the past month, most youth had never harmed themselves on purpose. Approximately 15% had harmed themselves one time. Smaller proportions of youth had harmed themselves more frequently, including two or three different times (5%), four or five different times (2%), and six or more different times (3%). The frequency of self-injury did not vary by gender, race or ethnicity, grade, or school attended. Almost half of students surveyed (46.8%) knew a friend who had harmed themselves on purpose. Peer self-injury demonstrated multivariate relationships with gender, having ever been cyberbullied, having ever tried self-injury, grade level, and substance use. Being female, having been cyberbullied, having tried self-injury, being in eighth grade, and higher levels of substance use placed youth at increased risk of knowing a peer who had self-injured. Chi-squared Automatic Interaction Detection (CHAID) was used to identify segments of youth at greatest and least risk of self-injury, frequent self-injury, and knowing a friend who had harmed themselves on purpose (i.e., peer self-injury).