The association between nonsuicidal self-injury and the emotional disorders: A meta-analytic review

Kate H. Bentley, Clair F. Cassiello-Robbins, Lisa Vittorio, Shannon Sauer-Zavala, David H. Barlow

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

183 Scopus citations

Abstract

Existing research supports a relationship between nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) and the emotional disorders (i.e., anxiety, mood, and related disorders). The aim of this investigation was to conduct a meta-analysis of the associations between NSSI and the emotional disorders, and evaluate the quality of evidence supporting this relationship. A literature search was conducted from database inception through June 2014, and two reviewers independently determined the eligibility and quality of studies. A total of 56 articles providing data on engagement in NSSI among individuals with and without emotional disorders met eligibility criteria. Compared to those without an emotional disorder, individuals with an emotional disorder were more likely to report engagement in NSSI (OR = 1.75, 95% CI: 1.49, 2.06). This increase of risk of NSSI was shown for each disorder subgroup, with the exceptions of bipolar disorder and social anxiety disorder. The largest associations were observed for panic and post-traumatic stress disorder; however, the risk of NSSI did not differ significantly across disorders. The quality of evidence was variable due to inconsistent methodological factors (e.g., adjustment for confounding variables, NSSI assessment). Overall, these findings provide evidence for a relationship between NSSI and the emotional disorders, and support conceptualizations of NSSI as transdiagnostic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-88
Number of pages17
JournalClinical Psychology Review
Volume37
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • Emotional disorders
  • Mood
  • NSSI
  • Self-injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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