Non-suicidal self-injury in developing countries: A review

Academic Article


  • Background: Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) may be understood as a physical and behavioral expression of emotional distress. Over the past 70 years, it has been variably formulated as a type of emotional reaction to various stressors. NSSI has complex goals, sometimes implicit, but overall it serves as a transient psychological relief. Many believe that NSSI is a maladaptive behavior and is not related to suicide, with the primary differentiating factor between suicide and NSSI being the ‘intention’ to die. NSSI is an important mental health problem in current modern societies, and it is part of a trend in current psychiatric and mental health practice to medicalize maladaptive behaviors or psychological distress. Aims: To review the prevalence, associated factors, purpose, and psychological and social significance of NSSI in developing countries. Method: This article is a narrative review. However, of the total 1,094 articles, 13 articles were included to derive information on the prevalence and methods of NSSI in the developing country. Results: NSSI rates are very variable, ranging from 11.5% to as high as 33.8%, depending on the nature of the sample and study design, but data show an increasing trend globally, including in developing countries. Conclusion: The recent emerging data does not support the notion that it is common in developed Western countries, though the meaning, context and reason for NSSI might differ in developing and developed countries. NSSI is almost equally prevalent in both developing and developed countries.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Mannekote Thippaiah S; Shankarapura Nanjappa M; Gude JG; Voyiaziakis E; Patwa S; Birur B; Pandurangi A
  • Start Page

  • 472
  • End Page

  • 482
  • Volume

  • 67
  • Issue

  • 5