Non-suicidal self-injury among Northern Italian High School students: emotional, interpersonal and psychopathological correlates

M. Gatta 1 , A. Rago 1 , F. Dal Santo 1 , A. Spoto 2 , P.A. Battistella 1

1 Woman and Child Health Department, University of Padova; 2 General Psychology Department, University of Padova


Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) is a common phenomenon in teenage society. Besides clinical literature shows significant correlations between NSSI and different psychopathologies, it is less known about non clinical population in the face of the important necessity to individuate at-risk population in order to plan efficacious preventive interventions.


This study aims to better understand NSSI by taking a further investigation into Italian non-clinical population, recruiting 277 subjects (aged 13-19) of 4 different schools in Northern Italy.


The participants were given a question about NSSI frequency and a 6-self-report-battery composed by: Youth Self-Report 11-18, Child Behaviour Check List, Barratt Impulsiveness Scale, TorontoAlexithymia Scale, Children’s Depression Inventory andSymptom Checklist-90-R.


12.6% of our subjects declared to have admittedly harm themselves at least once and just 11.4% of them told about this episode to an expert. The inferential analysis shows connection between alexithymia, interenalizing/externalizing problems and NSSI. No association was found with impulsiveness.


These results have many interesting clinical and preventing implications: first of all, they help specialists to better understand the NSSI pathology and its precursors secondly they show NSSI-people inside world and way of thinking about others.

Key words

Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) • Impulsiveness • Alexithymia • Prevention • Teenagers

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