Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-cf9d5c678-m9wwp Total loading time: 0.413 Render date: 2021-08-03T11:49:05.057Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

Non-suicidal self-injury in United States adults: prevalence, sociodemographics, topography and functions

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 January 2011

E. D. Klonsky
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

Background

Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) has received increased attention in the mental health literature and has been proposed as a diagnostic entity for DSM-5. However, data on NSSI in the United States adult population are lacking.

Method

The prevalence and nature of NSSI were examined in a random-digit dialing sample of 439 adults in the United States. Participants were recruited during July and August of 2008.

Results

Lifetime prevalence of NSSI was 5.9%, including 2.7% who had self-injured five or more times. The 12-month prevalence was 0.9%. Methods of NSSI reported included cutting/carving, burning, biting, scraping/scratching skin, hitting, interfering with wound healing and skin picking. Half of self-injurers reported multiple methods. The average age of onset was 16 years (median 14 years). Instances of NSSI infrequently co-occurred with suicidal thoughts and with use of alcohol or drugs and rarely required medical treatment. Most injurers reported that NSSI functioned to alleviate negative emotions. Fewer reported that they self-injured to punish themselves, to communicate with others/get attention or to escape a situation or responsibility. NSSI was associated with younger age, being unmarried and a history of mental health treatment, but not with gender, ethnicity, educational history or household income.

Conclusions

Results are largely consistent with previous research in adolescent and young adult samples. Study limitations notwithstanding, this study provides the most definitive and detailed information to date regarding the prevalence and characteristics of NSSI in US adults. In the future, it will be important for large-scale epidemiological studies of psychopathology to include questions about NSSI.

Type
Original Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2011

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

APA (1994). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edn. American Psychiatric Association: Washington, DC.Google Scholar
APA (2000). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edn, text revision. American Psychiatric Association: Washington, DC.Google Scholar
APA (2010). DSM-5 Development. (www.dsm5.org). Accessed 2 May 2010.Google Scholar
Andover, MS, Pepper, CM, Ryabchenko, KA, Orrico, EG, Gibb, BE (2005). Self-mutilation and symptoms of depression, anxiety, and borderline personality disorder. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior 35, 581591.Google Scholar
Briere, J, Gil, E (1998). Self-mutilation in clinical and general population samples: prevalence, correlates, and functions. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 68, 609620.Google Scholar
Favazza, AR, Conterio, K (1989). Female habitual self-mutilators. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica 79, 282289.Google Scholar
Herpertz, S (1995). Self-injurious behavior: psychopathological and nosological characteristics in subtypes of self-injurers. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica 91, 5768.Google Scholar
Kessler, RC, Berglund, P, Demler, O, Jin, R, Merikangas, KR, Walters, EE (2005). Lifetime prevalence and age-of-onset distributions of DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Archives of General Psychiatry 62, 593602.Google Scholar
Kessler, RC, Borges, G, Walters, EE (1999). Prevalence of and risk factors for lifetime suicide attempts in the National Comorbidity Survey. Archives of General Psychiatry 56, 617626.Google Scholar
Klonsky, ED (2007). The functions of deliberate self-injury: a review of the evidence. Clinical Psychology Review 27, 226239.Google Scholar
Klonsky, ED (2009). The functions of self-injury in young adults who cut themselves: Clarifying the evidence for affect-regulation. Psychiatry Research 166, 260268.Google Scholar
Klonsky, ED, Glenn, CR (2009). Assessing the functions of non-suicidal self-injury: Psychometric properties of the Inventory of Statements About Self-injury (ISAS). Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment 31, 215219.Google Scholar
Klonsky, ED, Muehlenkamp, JJ (2007). Self-injury: a research review for the practitioner. Journal of Clinical Psychology/In Session 63, 10451056.Google Scholar
Klonsky, ED, Olino, TM (2008). Identifying clinically distinct subgroups of self-injurers among young adults: a latent class analysis. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 76, 2227.Google Scholar
Klonsky, ED, Oltmanns, TF, Turkheimer, E (2003). Deliberate self-harm in a nonclinical population: prevalence and psychological correlates. American Journal of Psychiatry 160, 15011508.Google Scholar
Laye-Gindhu, A, Schonert-Reichl, KA (2005). Nonsuicidal self-harm among community adolescents: understanding the ‘whats’ and ‘whys’ of self-harm. Journal of Youth and Adolescence 34, 447457.Google Scholar
Muehlenkamp, JJ (2005). Self-injurious behavior as a separate clinical syndrome. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 75, 324333.Google Scholar
Nixon, MK, Cloutier, P, Jansson, SM (2008). Nonsuicidal self-harm in youth: a population-based survey. Canadian Medical Association Journal 178, 306312.Google Scholar
Nock, MK (2009). Non-suicidal Self-injury: Origins, Assessment, and Treatment. American Psychological Association Press: Washington, DC.Google Scholar
Nock, MK, Holmberg, EB, Photos, VI, Michel, BD (2007). The Self-Injurious Thoughts and Behaviors Interview: development, reliability, and validity in an adolescent sample. Psychological Assessment 19, 309317.Google Scholar
Nock, MK, Joiner, TE, Gordon, KH, Lloyd-Richardson, E, Prinstein, MJ (2006). Non-suicidal self-injury among adolescents: diagnostic correlates and relation to suicide attempts. Psychiatry Research 144, 6572.Google Scholar
Nock, MK, Prinstein, MJ (2004). A functional approach to the assessment of self-mutilative behavior. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 72, 885890.Google Scholar
Nock, MK, Prinstein, MJ (2005). Contextual features and behavioral functions of self-mutilation among adolescents. Journal of Abnormal Psychology 114, 140146.Google Scholar
Nock, MK, Prinstein, MJ, Sterba, S (2009). Revealing the form and function of self-injurious thoughts and behaviors: a real-time ecological assessment study among adolescents and young adults. Journal of Abnormal Psychology 118, 816827.Google Scholar
Prinstein, MJ (2008). Introduction to the special section on suicide and non-suicidal self-injury: a review of unique challenges and important directions for self-injury science. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 76, 18.Google Scholar
Ross, S, Heath, N (2002). A study of the frequency of self-mutilation in a community sample of adolescents. Journal of Youth and Adolescence 31, 6777.Google Scholar
Sturgis, P (2006). Surveys and sampling. In Research Methods in Psychology(ed. Breakwell, G. M., Hammond, S., Fife-Schaw, C. and Smith, J. A.), 3rd edn. Sage Publications: London.Google Scholar
Whitlock, J, Eckenrode, J, Silverman, D (2006). Self-injurious behaviors in a college population. Pediatrics 117, 19391948.Google Scholar
Whitlock, J, Muehlenkamp, JJ, Eckenrode, J (2008). Variation in nonsuicidal self-injury: identification and features of latent classes in a college population of emerging adults. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology 37, 725735.Google Scholar
308
Cited by

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Non-suicidal self-injury in United States adults: prevalence, sociodemographics, topography and functions
Available formats
×

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Non-suicidal self-injury in United States adults: prevalence, sociodemographics, topography and functions
Available formats
×

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Non-suicidal self-injury in United States adults: prevalence, sociodemographics, topography and functions
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *