The possible risks of self-injury web sites: a content analysis.
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The goal of this study was to examine the content of non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) Web sites, often shared via e-communities. Using a content analysis, 71 Web sites were investigated. Web sites depict NSSI as: an effective coping mechanism (91.55%), addictive and difficult to stop (87.23%), and not always painful (23.94%). Almost all Web sites had melancholic tones (83.10%); several contained graphic photography (29.58%). Most NSSI messages (61.97%) were ambivalent (NSSI-accepting and deterring). Finally, several Web sites (11.27%) provided testimony that NSSI-content is triggering. Findings mirror recent work and NSSI material on these Web sites may normalize and reinforce NSSI. Professionals may need to assess the online activity of individuals who self-injure. Despite its risks, the Internet may serve as a vehicle to reach those who self-injure.