Emotion Dysregulation Mediates the Relationship Between Child Maltreatment and Non-Suicidal Self-Injury

Elise N. Titelius, Emily Cook, Jayson Spas, Lindsay Orchowski, Katie Kivisto, Kimberly O’Brien, Elisabeth Frazier, Jennifer C. Wolff, Daniel P. Dickstein, Kerri L. Kim, Karen E. Seymour

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


One risk factor for non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) in adolescents is exposure to traumatic experiences, particularly child maltreatment. However, the mechanisms through which childhood maltreatment predicts NSSI are largely unknown. Emotion dysregulation (ED) is likely an important mechanism in this relationship. Therefore, this study examined the relationship between childhood maltreatment, ED, and NSSI in a sample of adolescent inpatients (n = 53). Results demonstrated that child physical and emotional maltreatment, but not child sexual abuse, was significantly associated with NSSI frequency. More specifically, ED mediated the relationship between child physical and emotional maltreatment and NSSI frequency. Findings support the importance of ED as a mediating factor in the relationship between childhood maltreatment and NSSI behaviors and highlight the need for teaching emotion regulation skills to youth affected by trauma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-331
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 16 2018


  • Adolescents
  • child abuse
  • child maltreatment
  • developmental psychopathology
  • emotion dysregulation
  • non-suicidal self-injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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