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Self-Mutilation and Coping Strategies in a College Sample


  • Portions of this paper were presented at the 38th annual meeting of the Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy, 2004.

Butler Hospital, Psychosocial Research Program, 345 Blackstone Blvd., Providence, RI 02906; E-mail:


The goal of this study was to examine the use of specific coping strategies among self-mutilating college students. The self-mutilating group (n = 44) reported utilizing avoidance strategies more often than did a control group (n = 44) matched for general psychological distress but with no history of self-mutilation. In addition, female, but not male, self-mutilators endorsed using problem-solving and social support seeking strategies less often than nonmutilators. These findings suggest that coping strategies in general and avoidance-based strategies in particular may be important targets for the treatment of self-mutilative behaviors.