In Their Own Words: Perspectives on Nonsuicidal Self-Injury Disorder Among Those With Lived Experience

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Abstract

Nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) is included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) as a condition warranting further study. Although potential advantages and disadvantages regarding this prospect have been documented, no study has examined the perspectives of those who self-injure. The goal of the current study was to give voice to these views. Seventy-six participants with an NSSI history completed quantitative and qualitative measures assessing perspectives about NSSI being included as a DSM disorder. Findings revealed mixed views overall. Thematic analysis of open-ended responses highlighted several unique advantages (i.e., enhanced understanding of NSSI, validation of the NSSI experience, facilitation of NSSI treatment, encouragement of NSSI help-seeking, reduction of NSSI stigma) and disadvantages (i.e., exacerbation of NSSI stigma, diminishment of underlying concerns). These findings speak to the need to consider the perceptions of those with lived NSSI experience; future directions and implications are discussed.

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