Shame Proneness, Shame Coping, and Functions of Nonsuicidal Self-Injury (NSSI) Among Emerging Adults: A Developmental Analysis

Shireen Mahtani, Glenn A. Melvin, Penelope Hasking

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearch


Shame proneness (i.e., experiencing shame in a trait-like manner) and internalizing shame coping styles (e.g., withdrawing/attacking one’s self when feeling shame) predict distress, psychopathology, and nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) among emerging adults. Parental invalidation is instrumental in the development of both maladaptive shame and NSSI. In this study, we proposed that shame proneness and internalized shame coping would link perceived parental invalidation and psychological distress to NSSI functions among emerging adults. A sample of 384 Australian emerging adults with a history of NSSI (M age = 20.7 years, SD = 2.25; 81.3% female, 61.2% Caucasian) completed online self-reports assessing the relevant constructs. Hypothesized indirect effects through shame proneness and internalized shame coping were supported when participants reported using NSSI for intrapersonal (e.g., self-punishment), but not interpersonal (e.g., signaling autonomy), functions. Findings advance theories on why some young people engage in NSSI and implicate perceived parental invalidation and shame as potential clinical targets for NSSI. warranting further research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-171
Number of pages13
JournalEmerging Adulthood
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • nonsuicidal self-injury
  • parental invalidation
  • shame
  • coping
  • development
  • emerging adulthood

Cite this