Nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) is a complex behaviour and occurs most commonly during adolescence. This developmental period is characterized by the drive to establish an equilibrium between personal autonomy and connectedness with primary caregivers. When an adolescent self-injures, caregivers often experience confusion about how to react. Reports of feeling guilt, fear, and shame are common in the wake of learning about a child's self-injury. This cascade of negative feelings and self-appraisals may lead to hypervigilance and increased caregiver efforts to control the child's behaviour. The adolescent may experience this as an intrusion, leading to worse family functioning and increased risk of NSSI. This cascade is not well acknowledged or articulated in current literature. This article remedies this gap by presenting the NSSI Family Distress Cascade.

Original languageEnglish
Article number52
Pages (from-to)52
Number of pages6
JournalChild and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2018

    Research areas

  • Cascade model, Family life cycle, Nonsuicidal self-injury, Parental secondary stress, Self-harm

ID: 44572849