Research Topic

Advancing Theory of Suicide and Non-Suicidal Self-Injury

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About this Research Topic

The past decade has seen an explosion of empirical studies and theoretical models devoted to better understanding of self-harm by focusing both on non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) and on suicide (including non-fatal suicidal thoughts and behavior), including their distinctions. As a result, important new ...

The past decade has seen an explosion of empirical studies and theoretical models devoted to better understanding of self-harm by focusing both on non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) and on suicide (including non-fatal suicidal thoughts and behavior), including their distinctions. As a result, important new theoretical models of NSSI and suicide have been developed. The continued development and refinement of evidence-based theory is essential for improving how we understand, prevent, and treat these behaviors. Thus, this Research Topic is devoted to collect articles that advance theoretical understanding of NSSI, suicide, or both. Given the high incidence of self-harm in the community, we especially welcome studies that advance understanding in non-treatment seeking community samples.

Regarding empirical research, we welcome studies that use quantitative (cross-sectional, longitudinal, experimental), qualitative, or mixed methods (we encourage studies using qualitative methods to address the use of replicability). Meta-analyses and qualitative meta-syntheses are welcome, providing these adopt a theory-driven approach. Empirical studies that are descriptive and which focus purely on diagnostic criteria, clinical correlates, or prevalence/incidence are not of interest. Rather, this Research Topic focuses on advancing conceptual and theoretical understanding, as this understanding is necessary for improved prevention and intervention. We are especially interested in empirical or theoretical papers that address (but are not limited to) the following:

● Critical comparisons of competing theoretical models of NSSI and/or suicidal behaviors (SB).
● Short-term antecedents or predictors of NSSI and SB that can help illuminate the contexts in which they occur; this can include longitudinal or retrospective work on factors preceding self-harm by days or weeks, as well as diary/ecological momentary assessment studies focusing on time-scales of minutes or hours.
● Developmental trajectories or mechanisms (moderators and mediators) of NSSI and SB, especially those starting in adolescence.
● The functions of NSSI, including how functions evolve, expand or increase time.
● New theoretical models of NSSI or SB.
● Evidence-based conceptual discussions about the relation between and/or independence of NSSI and SB.
● How NSSI can play a role in the progression from suicidal ideation to overt behavior.
● The nature or role of theory in understanding and/or preventing suicide/self-harm.
● Critical debates in NSSI and SB theory.

We welcome the following article types: original research, systematic reviews (theory-driven), hypothesis and theory, conceptual analysis, and opinion.


Keywords: Self-harm, non-suicidal self-injury, suicide, suicidal behavior


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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