Year: 2013 Source: Archives of Suicide Research.(2013).17(3):185-195. DOI:10.1080/13811118.2013.805636 SIEC No: 20130818

The goal of this study was to understand how friends and family members view and respond to non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI). A sample of college undergraduates read fictional vignettes and indicated why they thought the person engaged in NSSI and how they would respond to the situation. Participants were able to differentiate NSSI from accidental injury and suicide attempts. However, beyond this, there was little differentiation among functions. In terms of responses, participants indicated that they would attempt to maintain the safety of the individual if they observed NSSI directly and would provide emotional support if told about it later. These results suggest that observers may lack understanding of the functions of NSSI, but respond with support.