Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
Review
. 1998 Aug;18(5):531-54.
doi: 10.1016/s0272-7358(97)00105-0.

The Functions of Self-Mutilation

Affiliations
Review

The Functions of Self-Mutilation

K L Suyemoto. Clin Psychol Rev. .

Abstract

While pathological self-mutilating behavior has been clinically examined for over 65 years, and much of the literature hypothesizes some function for the behavior, there has been little attempt to integrate or differentiate between different functional ideas. This review uses six functional models extracted from the literature to organize a discussion of the multiple functions of self-mutilation, acknowledging the overdetermined nature of the behavior and attempting to understand how self-mutilation can serve multiple functions simultaneously. Contextual information about the definition, prevalence, phenomenology, patient characteristics, associated diagnoses, and associated symptoms of self-mutilation is first presented. Six functional models are then presented: the environmental model, the antisuicide model, the sexual model, the affect regulation model, the dissociation model, and the boundaries model. Support for these models in the empirical and theoretical literature is presented and treatment implications are explored.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 53 articles

See all "Cited by" articles

LinkOut - more resources

Feedback