Year: 2013 Source: Journal of Adult Development.(2013).20(1):57-62.DOI:10.1007/s10804-013-9156-8 SIEC No: 20130195

This brief report describes an exploratory qualitative study that examined online narratives of non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) in the context of critical developmental tasks of early adulthood: the development of self and identity. Thematic analyses of online autobiographical accounts of NSSI suggest that self and identity processes that are particularly relevant in early adulthood may contribute to vulnerability to NSSI. Specifically, NSSI may provide a source of self-identification in the service of developing self-identity and a community of others with whom to identify, a means for managing negative emotions specifically related to negative self-concept, and it may provide a basic sense of a coherent self who persists across time. Implications are discussed with respect to research, clinical practice, and prevention, with a particular emphasis on the Internet as a context for early adult development.