The prevalence of Nonsuicidal Self-Injury (NSSI) in a representative sample of the German population.BMC Psychiatry 2016; 16(1):353BP
Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) is a proposed new "condition for further study" in the DSM-5. To date no prevalence data has been available on this diagnostic entity from a representative sample of the general population.
A representative sample of the German population (N = 2509, mean age = 48.8 years, SD = 18.1, female 55.4 %) completed the NSSI section of the German version of the Self-Injurious Thoughts and Behaviors Interview (SITBI-G).
A history of NSSI at least once during lifetime was reported by 3.1 % of all participants, with higher lifetime prevalence rates in younger age groups. DSM-5 NSSI disorder criteria were met by 0.3 %. The most common function of NSSI was automatic negative reinforcement (e.g. to alleviate negative feelings).
To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study reporting rates for the proposed NSSI category in DSM-5 from a representative sample of the general population. In comparison to findings from community samples of adolescents, adults seem to have lower lifetime prevalence rates of NSSI, thus making it necessary to emphasize prevention and treatment efforts in younger age groups.