Factors Associated with Current Versus Lifetime Self-Injury Among High School and College Students

This article sought to identify factors associated with current versus lifetime nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) and factors that show consonant and distinct relationships with current NSSI for adolescents and young adults. Data came from a population-based survey of high school students (n = 9,985) and a national survey of college students (n = 7,801). Among both samples, factors associated with current NSSI included male gender, younger age, greater depressive symptoms, more hopelessness, and being the victim of a verbal or physical assault. For high school students, greater anxiety, and for college students, identifying as non-White, negative perceptions of one’s weight, a same-sex sexual experience, and involvement in dating violence also distinguished the groups. Findings suggest that clinical and research assessments of lifetime NSSI might not extend to current behavior, and some differences exist in the factors associated with current behavior between adolescents and young adults. Clinical practice and prevention programming efforts should target certain intrapersonal and interpersonal factors associated with current NSSI among younger students during stressful transition periods in their lives, such as entering high school or college, when they might consider initiating or continuing this behavior.