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Attempted suicide v. non-suicidal self-injury: behaviour, syndrome or diagnosis?

  • Aine M. Butler (a1) and Kevin Malone (a2)

Summary

Nomenclature used to describe acts of self-harm without fatal consequences varies considerably. The term ‘non-suicidal self-injury’ (NSSI) offers an opportunity to clarify study in this field, dichotomising the presence or absence of suicidal intent. This may improve consistency in reporting suicide and self-injurious behaviour with implications for management and prognosis.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Aine M. Butler, St John of God Hospital, Stillorgan, County Dublin, Ireland. Email: aine.butler@sjog.iex

Footnotes

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See pp. 326-328, this issue.

Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes

References

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1 American Psychiatric Association. Non-suicidal self injury. In American Psychiatric Association DSM-5 Development. APA, 2012 (http://www.dsm5.org).
2 O'Connor, R, Platt, S, Gordon, J. International Handbook of Suicide Prevention. Research, Policy and Practice. Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.
3 Skegg, K. Self-harm. Lancet 2005; 366: 1471–83.
4 Nock, MK, Kessler, RC. Prevalence of and risk factors for suicide attempts versus suicide gestures: analysis of the National Comorbidity Survey. J Abnorm Psychol 2006; 115: 616–23.
5 Wilkinson, P, Goodyer, I. Non-suicidal self-injury. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry 2011; 20: 103–8.
6 Plener, PL, Libal, G, Keller, F, Ferget, JM, Muehlenkamp, JJ. An international comparison of adolescent non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) and suicide attempts: Germany and the USA. Psychol Med 2009; 39: 1549–58.
7 Jacobson, CM, Muehlenkamp, JJ, Miller, AL, Turner, JB. Psychiatric impairment among adolescents engaging in different types of deliberate self-harm. J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol 2008; 37: 363–75.
8 Wilkinson, P, Kelvin, R, Roberts, C, Dubicka, B, Goodyer, I. Clinical and psychosocial predictors of suicide attempts and nonsuicidal self-injury in the Adolescent Depression Antidepressants and Psychotherapy Trial (ADAPT). Am J Psychiatry 2011; 168: 495501.
9 Brent, D. Nonsuicidal self-injury as a predictor of suicidal behavior in depressed adolescents. Am J Psychiatry 2011; 168: 452–4.
10 Muehlenkamp, JJ, Claes, L, Havertape, L, Plener, PL. International prevalence of adolescent non-suicidal self-injury and deliberate self-harm. Child Adolesc Psychiatry Ment Health 2012; 6: 10.

Attempted suicide v. non-suicidal self-injury: behaviour, syndrome or diagnosis?

  • Aine M. Butler (a1) and Kevin Malone (a2)

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