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Table 1 Functional roles of NSSI

From: A ‘choice’, an ‘addiction’, a way ‘out of the lost’: exploring self-injury in autistic people without intellectual disability

Functional role of NSSI Example answers to the question ‘I hurt myself …’
Affective imbalance-low pressure (4 items) ‘… to feel something.’
‘… to change my emotional pain into something physical.’
Affective imbalance-high pressure (3 items) ‘… to relieve stress or pressure.’
‘… to deal with frustration.’
Social communication and expression (3 items) ‘… in hopes that someone would notice that something is wrong or that so others will pay attention to me.’
‘… to shock or hurt someone.’
Self-retribution and deterrence (4 items) ‘… as a self-punishment or to atone for sins.’
‘… so I do not hurt myself in other ways.’
Sensation seeking (4 items) ‘… because I get the urge and cannot stop it.’
‘… to get a rush or surge of energy.’
  1. Example items for the five functional roles of self-injurious behaviour outlined in the Non-Suicidal Self-Injury Assessment Tool (NSSI-AT)