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date: 26 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Self-injurious behavior typically involves deliberate acts that directly damage the body but are performed in the absence of suicidal intent. The most common examples of direct self-injury are cutting and burning. Yet there are other ways that people may mistreat or abuse themselves without altering bodily tissue directly. Such “indirect” methods of self-injury might include substance abuse, eating-disordered behavior, risky or reckless behavior, and involvement in abusive relationships. In this chapter we consider the possibility that the conceptualization of self-injurious behavior should be expanded to include indirect forms of self-injury. We also present data that bear on this issue. Consideration of the boundaries of self-injury is especially important now that nonsuicidal self-injury disorder has been identified in DSM-5 as a condition in need of further study.

Keywords: nonsuicidal self-injury, DSM-5, substance use disorders, eating disorders, abusive relationships, health risk behaviors, suicide, self-criticism

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