An Examination of the Scope and Nature of Non-Suicidal Self-Injury Online Activities: Implications for School Mental Health Professionals
- 1.1k Downloads
Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) is an increasing concern among mental health professionals working with youth. The presence of NSSI on the Internet has grown considerably over the last decade. Studies investigating NSSI Internet activities suggest a strong adolescent audience. Research suggests that the general Internet experiences for youth who are currently engaging in or have a history of NSSI may be different than that of youth who do not engage in the behavior. The present study is the first to simultaneously examine the scope and nature of NSSI content across informational/interactive websites, social networking websites, and the popular video-sharing website YouTube, in order to provide mental health practitioners with a multifaceted description of online content related to NSSI. Results suggest that peer driven, informal websites have a variety of triggering content and are accessed more often than professionally driven websites. NSSI is strongly represented among social networking websites, and YouTube, evidenced by large group memberships and video view counts. Based on these findings, a series of practical implications and recommendations are provided to assist mental health practitioners in assessing online NSSI-related activities among youth who are currently engaging in or have a history of NSSI, with implications for intervention and recovery.
KeywordsSelf-injury Self-harm Internet Online activities School mental health
- Adler, P. A., & Adler, P. (2007). The cyber worlds of self-injurers: Deviant communities, relationships and selves. Symbolic Interaction, 3, 33–56. Retrieved from http://www.researcher.royalroads.ca/moodle/course/view.php?id=878/.
- Alexa: CategoryWorldwide Traffic Rank Website. http://www.alexa.com/topsites/category. Updated daily. Accessed August 15, 2010.
- Heath, N. L., & Nixon, M. K. (2009). Assessment of non-suicidal self-injury in youth. In M. K. Nixon & N. L. Heath (Eds.), Self-injury in youth: The essential guide to assessment and Intervention (pp. 143–170). New York, NY: Routledge Press.Google Scholar
- Heath, N. L., Toste, J. R., & McLouth, R. (2009). Unpublished raw data.Google Scholar
- Heath, N. L., Toste, J. R., Nedecheva, T., & Charlebois, A. (2008). An examination of non-suicidal self-injury in college students. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 30, 137–156. Retrieved from http://www.amhca.org/news/journal.aspx.
- Heath, N. L., Toste, J. R., Sornberger, M. J., & Wagner, C. (2010). Teachers’ perceptions of non-suicidal self-injury in the schools. Manuscript under review.Google Scholar
- Lenhart, A., Madden, M., & Hitlin, P. (2005). Teens and technology: Youth are leading the transition to a fully wired and mobile nation (PEW Internet and American Life Project). Retrieved from the PEW Research website: http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2005/Teens-and-Technology.aspx.
- Lenhart, A., Purcell, K., Smith, A., & Zickuhr, K. (2010). Social media & mobile Internet use among teens and young adults (PEW Internet and American Life Project). Retrieved from the PEW Research website http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2010/Social-Media-and-Young-Adults/Summary-of-Findings.aspx.
- Murray, C.D., & Fox, J. (2006). Do Internet self-harm discussion groups alleviate or exacerbate self- harming behaviour? Australian e-Journal for the Advancement of Mental Health, 5, 225–233. Retrieved from http://www.auseinet.com/journal/vol5iss3/murray.pdf.
- Purcell, K. (2010). The state of online video (PEW Internet and American Life Project). Retrieved from the PEW Research website: http://www.pewInternet.org/~/media//Files/Reports/2010/PIP-The-State-of-Online-Video.pdf.
- Walsh, B. W. (2006). Treating self-injury: A practical guide. New York, NY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar