Body Regard as a Moderator of the Relation between Emotion Dysregulation and Nonsuicidal Self-Injury


Address correspondence to Kim L. Gratz, Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, MS 39216; E-mail:


Despite research documenting a strong association between emotion dysregulation and nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI), the moderators of this association have received little attention. Thus, it remains unclear why some individuals with heightened emotion dysregulation engage in NSSI and others do not. Body regard (i.e., how one perceives, experiences, and cares for the body) may be one such moderator, explaining the risk for NSSI among some individuals with emotion dysregulation. The current study used structural equation modeling within a sample of 398 undergraduates (26% reporting NSSI, mean frequency = 25.16, SD = 40.5) to test the interactive effect of emotion dysregulation and body regard on NSSI frequency when controlling for negative affect and borderline personality disorder symptoms. The interaction model provided a strong fit to the data and showed that emotion regulation was associated with NSSI only when low levels of body regard were present. Results suggest that body regard may be important to understanding who engages in NSSI within the context of emotion dysregulation. Possible mechanisms underlying the interaction between body regard and emotion dysregulation are discussed along with treatment and prevention implications.