Development and Initial Validation of the Body-focused Self-damaging Behavior Expectancies Questionnaire

Courtney N. Forbes*, Matthew T. Tull, Jason M. Lavender, Katherine L. Dixon-Gordon, Kim L. Gratz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Direct and indirect body-focused self-damaging behaviors are highly prevalent and associated with negative outcomes. Despite progress in understanding the expected consequences (i.e., expectancies) that motivate individuals to engage in these behaviors, less is known about the co-occurrence of, and specific expectancies for, body-focused self-damaging behaviors. The goal of this study was to develop a self-report measure to assess the frequency and co-occurrence of, and individuals’ average expectancies for, body-focused self-damaging behaviors. An initial draft of the Body-focused Self-damaging Behavior Expectancies Questionnaire (BSBEQ) was developed and refined through expert feedback and pilot testing in a student sample (n = 11). The specific body-focused self-damaging behaviors selected for assessment included nonsuicidal self-injury, disordered eating behavior, body-focused repetitive behaviors, and problematic exercise. The factor structure of the BSBEQ was examined initially through exploratory factor analysis in a student sample (n = 349) and then through confirmatory factor analysis in a community sample (n = 443). The final BSBEQ comprised 17 items across five subscales: Control, Self-Improvement, Coping with Emotional Pain, Positive Emotion Down-regulation, and Interpersonal Influence. The internal consistency, test–retest reliability, and convergent and divergent validity of the subscales were generally supported. The BSBEQ represents a flexible tool for assessing the frequency of and average expectancies for body-focused self-damaging behaviors, and can be used for assessment and/or treatment planning by researchers and clinicians working with individuals with a variety of self-damaging behaviors that have a direct or indirect physical effect on the body.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)875-897
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Body-focused repetitive behaviors
  • Disordered eating
  • Functional assessment
  • Nonsuicidal self-injury
  • Problematic exercise
  • Self-damaging behaviors


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