Psychological Science ›› 2016, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (1): 103-108.

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The Motivations and Influences of the Adolescents’ Online Presentation of Non-Suicidal Self-Injury


  • Received:2015-01-18 Revised:2015-05-05 Online:2016-01-20 Published:2016-01-20
  • Contact: Guang-Rong JIANG



  1. 华中师范大学心理学院
  • 通讯作者: 江光荣

Abstract: The Non-suicidal self-injury(NSSI)refers to purposeful acts (e.g., cutting, carving, burning) in which individuals damage their own body tissue for nonsuicidal reasons (e.g., to regulate affect, punish self, communicate a need to others). This is a type of dangerous behavior which could result in harms to individuals both physically and psychologically, and is most commonly seen in adolescents. With the widespread of the Internet, network has become an indispensable part of people’s life. Adolescents and young adults use the Internet more than any other age-groups; moreover, youth who self-injure may engage more in online activities compared with those who do not self-injure. Thus, the presentation of NSSI on the Internet has received increasing empirical attention. It has been revealed that most non-suicidal self-injurers who present their NSSI on the Internet were female of 12 to 20 years old. These adolescents show their NSSI on the Internet through words, pictures and videos. Researchers use content analysis to analyze these information and results showed that contents of the online NSSI presentation include the following aspects mainly: NSSI behaviors(e.g.: new wound, tools, bloody NSSI scene),treatment of the wound(e.g.: clean the blade before NSSI, clean up the wound after NSSI), methods of hiding scars; there are also the descriptions of the NSSI triggers, their addiction to NSSI, the professional help-seeking experience, etc. Although empirical research is rare, recent reports based on investigations of NSSI and online NSSI presentation suggest that the motivations of online NSSI presentation were considered as follows: 1) most Non-suicidal self-injure adolescents tend to feel themselves as worthless, and when their needs of self-esteem cannot be fulfilled in real life, they may try to win praise from net friends by showing their NSSI online; 2)non-suicidal self-injure adolescents are usually frustrated with emotional expression in everyday life, and the world of Internet is supposed to be a safety place for them to show their NSSI and express their bad feelings, through which those repressed negative emotions would be released; 3) by showing their wound and experiences online, they can get social support and acceptance from those who were able to understanding them. The online NSSI presentation may have both beneficial and detrimental influences on youth who are engaging in NSSI. Those who assume that the presentation of NSSI online have a positive impact on the NSSI individuals considered that by showing NSSI online, those repressed needs could be satiated and social support could be gained through the Internet. In addition, having the chance to establish contact with other NSSI individuals also can be beneficial. However, more researchers argued that despite these benefits, showing NSSI on the Internet might be harmful. They believed that the presentation of NSSI could activate the urges of NSSI for some individuals being exposed to the information. And repeated exposure to NSSI materials, especially for those claimed that NSSI behaviors were not as painful as expected, may reduce the fears and hesitation that help to protect individuals from NSSI.

Key words: adolescents, the online NSSI presentation, motivations, influences

摘要: 自我伤害行为是一种复杂且危险的心理病理行为,它会给个体的身心带来不同程度的损害。自伤是在多种因素的共同作用下产生,且在青少年中发生率最高。随着互联网的普遍使用,网络已经成为青少年生活中不可或缺的部分,近年来研究者开始关注到青少年的自伤网络展示行为。研究显示,许多自伤青少年会在网络上展示自己的自伤行为;个体一般是在多种动机的作用下对自己的自伤行为或经历进行展示;这些展示的内容既可能会让更多的人模仿或强化自伤,也可能会为自伤者提供社会支持,有助于他们减少自伤行为。

关键词: 青少年, 自伤行为的网络展示, 动机, 影响