Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) poses a serious threat to the safety and well-being of offenders and staff, making it a critical issue for correctional institutions, yet little is known about NSSI adult women offenders. Fifty-six women residing in Canadian federal correctional institutions with a history of NSSI participated in semi-structured interviews to explore their behavior. More than two-thirds of the women interviewed reported engaging in NSSI as a method of coping with negative emotions. The most common emotions reported prior to engaging in NSSI were anger, depression, and anxiety. The most common event that preceded NSSI was interpersonal conflict. After self-injuring, women most commonly reported feelings of relief, followed by regret. Whereas many women described similar experiences with NSSI, this research suggests that NSSI is a complex behavior with many different motivations and precipitating factors, and that effective treatment should consider the individual's unique needs.

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Keywords mental health, self-injurious behavior, women offenders, women's health
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Journal International Journal of Forensic Mental Health
Power, J. (Jenelle), Brown, S, & Usher, A.M. (Amelia M.). (2013). Non-Suicidal Self-Injury in Women Offenders: Motivations, Emotions, and Precipitating Events. International Journal of Forensic Mental Health, 12(3), 192–204. doi:10.1080/14999013.2013.832442