National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version


Document Type



UReCA: The NCHC Journal of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity:


Copyright @ by the author.


Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) is a prevalent public health issue that affects millions of teenagers and young adults each year. With the ever-increasing use of social media among youth, it is important to understand how NSSI is represented online. The goal of the current study was to update the research of Lewis and colleagues (2010) to examine how NSSI is represented on YouTube via a content analysis. We also examined whether certain types of NSSI related videos may encourage or trigger viewers to engage in NSSI themselves by coding comments posted in response to videos. For this study, we searched “self-harm” and used the view count filter to select the top 25 most viewed videos within the past three years. We coded the content using categories from a previous study conducted by Dr. Colleen Jacobson’s research team (Tigershtrohm et al., 2016). Our results showed that 28% of all videos fell under the “bashing” category, 20% fell under the “providing support category” and 20% fell under the “current acts” category. Our results also showed that 36.8% of all comments were self-disclosure, 36.4% were feedback towards the poster and only 1% of all comments indicated the viewer was triggered. Our results lead us to the conclusion that, though the majority of videos fell under the category “bashing,” the majority of comments discouraged NSSI and did not trigger viewers.