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date: 25 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) is the direct and intentional destruction of one’s own body tissue in the absence of suicidal intent. Although NSSI itself is explicitly nonsuicidal, nearly half of individuals who engage in NSSI also engage in suicidal behavior, and nearly all individuals who engage in suicidal behavior also engage in NSSI. Moreover, recent studies suggest that NSSI is one of the strongest known predictors of future suicide attempts, even exceeding the predictive power of prior suicide attempts in some instances. In this chapter we review the basic features and correlates of NSSI, evaluate the evidence for traditional models of NSSI, and discuss how an emerging model of NSSI may provide insight into the strong association between NSSI and suicidal behavior. We conclude by recommending how to evaluate when NSSI is a behavioral emergency and by noting the most crucial future directions for research on this topic.

Keywords: nonsuicidal self-injury, NSSI, suicide, Behavioral emergency, Predictors, NSSI models

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