Atypical and Severe Nonsuicidal Self-Injury as an Indicator of Severe Psychopathology: Findings From a Sample of High-Risk Community Mental Health Clients

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Abstract

This study examined whether atypical/severe nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI; e.g., foreign body ingestion, cutting necessitating sutures) serves as a marker of severe psychopathology among 467 adult community mental health clients (n = 33 with an atypical/severe NSSI history). Information regarding psychiatric risk indicators was extracted from participants’ psychiatric records. Generalized linear models with negative binomial distribution and log link function, as well as chi-square tests, were used to address study aims. Clients with a lifetime atypical/severe NSSI history met criteria for a significantly greater number of psychiatric risk indicators than clients with a lifetime history of common NSSI only; however, these clients were not significantly more likely to report recent suicidal actions. Individuals with an atypical/severe NSSI history may demonstrate more severe psychopathology than those with a history of common NSSI only. Thus, it may be clinically useful to consider individuals with an atypical/severe NSSI history as a high-risk subgroup.

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