The Significance of Location of Self-Injury

Gardner, Kathryn Jane orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-3904-1638, Clements, Caroline, Bickley, Harriet, Rayner, Gillian orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-7293-525X and Taylor, Peter James (2023) The Significance of Location of Self-Injury. In: The Oxford Handbook of Nonsuicidal Self-Injury. Oxford University Press (OUP), C24S1-C24N1. ISBN 9780197611272

[thumbnail of AAM] PDF (AAM) - Accepted Version
Restricted to Repository staff only


Official URL:


This chapter examines whether location of injury may have meaning for people with lived experience of nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI), and what research to date reveals about possible meanings, implications, and correlates of the location of self-injury on the body. It begins by reviewing the prevalence of different self-injury locations and the role of culture, followed by functional, cognitive, and psychodynamic perspectives. Studies suggest a preference for self-injury on the arms and legs, followed by the torso. Yet, within these largely Caucasian samples there is variation in reported percentages for common locations across studies and sample types. Moreover, there is a knowledge gap on NSSI in non-Western and minority groups. The chapter then considers research and clinical implications that stem directly from an improved understanding of the relevance of location of the injury.

Repository Staff Only: item control page