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Suicidal Versus Nonsuicidal Self-Injury in Corrections

Self-injury encompasses behaviors that result in deliberate harm or injury to oneself. This comprises a number of behaviors including nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI), suicidal self-injury, and suicide attempts resulting in death. This entry focuses on and distinguishes between two forms of self-injury: suicidal and nonsuicidal.

NSSI includes self-directed behaviors that are deliberately inflicted and that result in injury or harm. These behaviors must be outside the realm of socially sanctioned forms of self-injury, which have a creative or expressive purpose such as piercings and tattoos. They must also be distinguished from suicidal self-injury in which one engages with specific intent to end one’s life. The key difference between these two forms of self-injury is intent; NSSI occurs without specific intent to die, whereas in suicidal self-injury, ...

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