MHAMD

Self-Injurious Behavior

Self-Injurious Behavior

Children who exhibit self-injurious behavior (SIB) perform deliberate and repetitive acts of injuring their own body as a way to cope with overwhelming negative feelings, such as sadness, anxiety or stress, or as a way to experience some sense of feeling. SIB can also provide a way for the youth to express some internal rage, to re-enact a past trauma, or to offer a brief sense of control.  Some forms of self-injurious behavior are cutting, carving, scratching, burning, branding, biting, bruising, hitting, and picking/pulling skin and hair. A child that self-injures does so typically with secrecy and shame, so he or she will seek to hide the injuries with long clothing and try to explain the injuries with probably causes. Research indicates that girls are more likely to self-injure than boys, and that most begin SIB between the ages of 12 and 15.

Children’s Mental Health Matters Self-Injurious Behavior Fact Sheet >>