The Relationship between Non-Suicidal Self-Injury and the UPPS-P Impulsivity Facets in Eating Disorders and Healthy Controls

PLoS One. 2015 May 20;10(5):e0126083. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0126083. eCollection 2015.


In the present study, we investigated the association between Non-Suicidal Self-Injury (NSSI) and the UPPS-P impulsivity facets in eating disorder patients and healthy controls. The prevalence of NSSI in eating disorder (ED) patients ranged from 17% in restrictive anorexia nervosa (AN-R) patients to 43% in patients with bulimia nervosa (BN). In healthy controls (HC), the prevalence of NSSI was 19%. Eating disorder patients from the binge eating/purging type showed significantly more NSSI compared to restrictive ED and HC participants. Binge-eating/purging ED patients also scored significantly higher on Negative/Positive Urgency, Lack of Premeditation and Lack of Perseverance compared to HC and restrictive ED patients. Comparable findings were found between ED patients and HC with and without NSSI; ED patients and HC with NSSI scored significantly higher in four of the five UPPS-P dimensions compared to participants without NSSI; Sensation Seeking was the exception. Finally, the presence of NSSI in HC/ED patients was particularly predicted by low levels of Perseverance. Therefore, the treatment of ED patients with NSSI certainly needs to focus on the training of effortful control.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anorexia Nervosa / complications
  • Anorexia Nervosa / physiopathology
  • Anorexia Nervosa / psychology*
  • Binge-Eating Disorder / complications
  • Binge-Eating Disorder / physiopathology
  • Binge-Eating Disorder / psychology*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Bulimia Nervosa / complications
  • Bulimia Nervosa / physiopathology
  • Bulimia Nervosa / psychology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Educational Status
  • Employment / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Impulsive Behavior*
  • Marital Status
  • Personality Inventory
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Self Report
  • Self-Injurious Behavior / complications
  • Self-Injurious Behavior / physiopathology
  • Self-Injurious Behavior / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires

Grants and funding

The work was supported by grant number Fondo de Investigación Sanitaria-FIS (PI11/210; PI14/290). The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.