Year: 2022 Source: Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior. (2022), 52(5), 1024-1036. SIEC No: 20221125
Nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) is defined as the deliberate destruction of one's own body tissue without suicidal intent and for purposes not socially sanctioned. However, this definition limits the understanding and assessment of NSSI by excluding a clinically relevant form of NSSI that is both self-driven and associated with self-injurious intentions: NSSI by proxy. Specifically, we propose that NSSI by proxy be defined as the intentional destruction of one's own body tissue through the elicitation of another being's (e.g., human, animal) actions, wherein the agency of the person being injured is a critical facet of the behavior. We review the literature supporting the clinical relevance of this behavior, as well as its similarities to traditional NSSI. Next, we propose four behaviors that may be conceptualized as NSSI by proxy, and identify two other behaviors that warrant further investigation. Finally, we identify future directions for research in this area and implications for the assessment and treatment of NSSI.