E-ISSN 1309-4866
Research Article
The Nature, Functions and Related Risk Factors of Non-Suicidal Self-Injury Among Turkish High School Students
1 Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Pamukkale University School of Medicine, Denizli, Turkey  
2 Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Ege University School of Medicine, İzmir, Turkey  
3 Clinic of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Lefkoşa, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus  
4 Department of Psychology, Gediz University, İzmir, Turkey  
5 Retired Lecturer, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Ege University School of Medicine, İzmir, Turkey  
Arch Neuropsychiatry ; : -
DOI: 10.5152/npa.2016.12553
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Key Words: Self-injurious behavior, risk factors, functions

Introduction: Non suicidal self-injury (NSSI), is defined as the deliberate harm of oneself without intent to die. In this study we aimed to investigate nature, functions and related risk factors of NSSI among Turkish high school students. 


Methods: 1656 students attending 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th classes from 18 high schools in Izmir province were reached in the study. Self-report forms of 1642 adolescents who accepted to participate in the study were assessed. Frequency, methods, nature and functions of NSSI were asked by “Inventory of Statements About Self-injury” (ISAS). Sociodemographic characteristics of the adolescents and probable risk factors for the behavior were surveyed by the sociodemographic form which was developed by the authors for the present study.


Results: Mean age of the first self-injury was found to be 13.3±2.6 among 519 adolescents who endorsed, at least, one previous act of NSSI. Most of the adolescents with NSSI history (84.4%, n=438) harmed themselves 5 or more times. The most frequent NSSI method was determined as banging/hitting. Among the NSSI related risk factors, violence in the family, NSSI history in the family, criminal behavior history in the family, previous discipline penalty history in the school, NSSI among friends, negatively perceived friend relations, cigarette smoking, deliberate destruction of property and physical abuse history were determined as distinguishing factors. Adolescents were found to utilize the most frequently affect regulation function of the behavior and self-punishment and marking distress followed it. It was detected that, as the NSSI frequency increased, the autonom (intrapersonal) functions were utilized more frequently, and the social (interpersonal) functions relatively less.


Conclusion: NSSI among the high school students develop under the influence of many risk factors related to the family, school, friend environment and the adolescent himself. Adolescents mostly harm themselves to bear and regulate their negative feelings. The ones who endorse NSSI more frequently utilize autonom functions more, compared to the ones who report low levels of NSSI.

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