Self Injury: Is It a Syndrome?
Self injury (SI) typically refers to a variety of behaviors associated with self harm without suicidal intent. While there remains a dearth of research on this subject there is emerging evidence to suggest that SI is increasing amongst clinical and non-clinical populations. Studies estimate that 4% of the general population has self-injured (White Kress, 2003; Klonsky, Oltmanns & Turkheimer, 2003); the prevalence among college students is even higher, ranging from 12% (Favazza, 1996) to 35% (Gratz, 2001) of students having had at least one episode of SI. As might be expected, the incidence is higher among clinical populations. In spite of this prevalence, there remains a particular lacuna of research on the phenomenon. The aim of this paper is to briefly review the extant research on SI and discuss the merits of incorporating SI into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) as a separate diagnosis.
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