A Framework for Identifying Neurobiologically Based Intervention Targets for NSSI

Melinda Westlund Schreiner, Bonnie Klimes-Dougan, Anna Parenteau, Dawson Hill, Kathryn R. Cullen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) is a common problem in adolescents. Recent advances in understanding the neurobiology of NSSI can serve to guide the conceptualization and development of new treatments to address adolescent NSSI. The purpose of this review is to integrate the extant findings from neurobiological NSSI research, with the goal of identifying potential treatment targets. Recent Findings: NSSI is associated with disruption across several neurobiological systems, including negative and positive valence, cognitive control, and social processes. These findings provide some groundwork for forming hypotheses about how to target these mechanisms, using psychotherapeutic, psychopharmacological, or neuromodulation approaches. Summary: Although the extant neurobiological research on NSSI still faces some limitations, recent advances in knowledge in this area have begun to identify possible treatment targets. Next steps should (a) confirm the relevance of these targets to NSSI using robust methodology, (b) test how these biological markers change with treatment, and (c) utilize these targets in experimental therapeutics research designed to optimize treatment strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-187
Number of pages11
JournalCurrent Behavioral Neuroscience Reports
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


  • Adolescence
  • Intervention
  • Neurobiology
  • Non-suicidal self-injury


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