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Clin Psychol Rev. 2015 Jun;38:55-64. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2015.02.009. Epub 2015 Mar 6.

Gender differences in the prevalence of nonsuicidal self-injury: A meta-analysis.

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University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, United States. Electronic address:
University of Mississippi Medical Center, United States.


Epidemiological research on the prevalence of nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) has found inconsistent results in terms of gender differences, with some studies showing a higher prevalence for women compared to men and other studies showing no difference. The goal of the current study was to use meta-analytic techniques to better conceptualize the presence and size of gender differences in the prevalence of NSSI. We also examined two factors proposed to explain gender differences in NSSI prevalence: the gender difference would be larger for clinical samples relative to community samples, and the gender difference would be larger for younger (versus older) samples. The results showed that across studies women were significantly more likely to report a history of NSSI than men. Moderator analyses showed that the gender difference was larger for clinical samples, compared to college/community samples. However, there was not a significant relation between age and effect size. Women were more likely to use some methods of NSSI (e.g., cutting) compared to men, but for other methods there was no significant difference (e.g., punching). These results increase our knowledge of NSSI and fit with a larger literature examining gender, emotion regulation, and psychopathology.


Gender; Meta-analysis; NSSI; Nonsuicidal self-injury; Self-harm

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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