Eating disorder behaviors as a form of non-suicidal self-injury

Jason J. Washburn, Danya Soto, Christina A. Osorio, Noël C. Slesinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Nonsuicidal Self-Injury (NSSI), the purposeful harming of one's body tissue without suicidal intent. NSSI frequently co-occurs with other self-destructive forms of psychopathology, such as eating disorders (ED); however, it remains unclear if ED behaviors are used as a form of NSSI. This exploratory study examined the occurrence of Self-Injurious Disordered Eating Symptoms (SIDES), as well as differences in clinical correlates and treatment outcomes between NSSI patients with and without SIDES. Participants included 1,327 patients admitted for partial hospitalization or intensive outpatient treatment for NSSI (87.4% female; 75.3% Non-Hispanic White). Data were collected at admission and discharge as part of routine clinical outcome assessment. Results indicate that 29.5% of the sample engaged in SIDES, while most were not diagnosed with an ED. Patients that engaged in SIDES reported greater clinical severity at baseline, including greater general psychopathology, lower quality of life, and worse functional impairment, as well as more clinically severe NSSI (e.g., greater number of methods, higher urge to self-injure, greater intrapersonal functions). No differences in treatment outcomes were found. These findings suggest that some NSSI patients perceive ED behaviors as a form of NSSI and that SIDES may be a marker for a more severe clinical presentation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number115002
JournalPsychiatry Research
StatePublished - Jan 2023
Externally publishedYes

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  • Co-occurrence
  • Comorbidity
  • Disordered eating behaviors
  • Self-harm
  • Treatment outcomes

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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