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date: 25 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Leading theories and an increasingly large body of empirical work each implicate emotion dysregulation as a central contributor to the emergence and maintenance of a range of self-injurious behaviors. In fact, self-inflicted injury (SII) often serves as a maladaptive emotion regulation strategy. In this chapter, we review shared biological and contextual contributors to both conditions, and discuss mutually reinforcing influences on their development. Available evidence indicates that emotion dysregulation and SII are particularly likely to emerge when biologically vulnerable individuals are reared in specific developmental contexts. However, we cannot yet accurately predict which affective patterns mark imminent risk for SII. Although research on links between emotion dysregulation and SII has burgeoned in recent years and associations between these conditions are well established, mediating and moderating pathways require further exploration. We review recent findings, current methodological barriers, and directions for future research.

Keywords: self-inflicted injury, suicide, emotion dysregulation, affective variability, etiology

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