Nonsuicidal self-injury disorder: The path to diagnostic validity and final obstacles

Edward A. Selby, Amy Kranzler, Kara B. Fehling, Emily Panza

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


After decades of researchers calling for the creation of a self-injury syndrome, the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders listed Nonsuicidal Self-Injury (NSSI) disorder as a condition for further study. The purpose of this review is to provide information about the current status of research on NSSI disorder, current arguments for and against the disorder's creation, and areas that require further research. Specifically, we address the five biggest obstacles to validation: the need for clear delimitation from other psychiatric disorders as well as suicidal behavior, the need to fully explore the developmental course of the disorder, empirically establishing the most appropriate diagnostic criteria, and the potential clinical utility of creating a new disorder. With further research in these key areas, we expect that there will soon be enough evidence for the validity of NSSI disorder to warrant its inclusion in a future edition of the DSM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-91
Number of pages13
JournalClinical Psychology Review
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Diagnosis
  • Self-harm
  • Self-injury
  • Self-mutilation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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