Nonsuicidal self-injury and gender: patterns of prevalence, methods, and locations among adolescents

Suicide Life Threat Behav. 2012 Jun;42(3):266-78. doi: 10.1111/j.1943-278X.2012.0088.x. Epub 2012 Mar 21.


Nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) among adolescents is a growing concern. However, little is known about gender and features of this behavior. Gender differences in NSSI among a sample of 7,126 adolescents were investigated, 1,774 of whom reported having engaged in NSSI. Gender differences in prevalence, method, and location of NSSI were examined. Findings revealed that females reported higher rates of NSSI, more cutting and scratching, and more injuries to arms and legs than their male counterparts. Males reported more burning and hitting-type behavior, as well as injuries to the chest, face, or genitals. This highlights an interesting pattern of NSSI, which future research should consider to accurately examine NSSI in females and males.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Missouri / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Self-Injurious Behavior / classification*
  • Self-Injurious Behavior / epidemiology*
  • Sex Distribution
  • Sex Factors*
  • Wounds and Injuries / pathology
  • Wounds and Injuries / psychology*
  • Young Adult