Non suicidal self-injury in referred adolescents with mood disorders and its association with cyclothymic-hypersensitive temperament

Gabriele Masi, Annarita Milone, Anna Rita Montesanto, Elena Valente, Simone Pisano

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© 2017 Elsevier B.V. Background Non suicidal self-injuries (NSSIs) are deliberate self-harm behaviors without suicidal intent, usually starting in adolescence, with increasing rates of occurrence both in epidemiological and clinical samples. Several studies associated cyclothymic-hypersensitive temperament (CHT) with self-harm behaviors and suicidal risk. Aim of this study is to explore the association between NSSIs and CHT in a clinical sample of adolescents. We hypothesized that CHT may differentiate NSSI from non-NSSI adolescents with mood disorders, when other psychopathological features are controlled for. Methods A consecutive sample of 89 adolescents with mood disorders were assessed for presence and phenomenology of NSSIs, CHT, demographics, comorbid categorical psychiatric diagnoses, dimensional psychopathology, impairment and previous suicide attempts. Results NSSIs were reported in 52% of the sample, with higher rates in females and in bipolar disorder. Regression analyses showed that CHT, but not age, gender, bipolar vs depression diagnosis, functional impairment, was associated with NSSIs. Discussion CHT may be in close association with NSSIs in adolescents with mood disorders. An assessment of CHT in adolescents referred for mood disorder may help to detect specific psychological features of NSSIs, which may improve diagnostic and treatment strategies. Limitations Given the cross-sectional design, a developmental relation between CHT and NSSIs cannot be determined. The small sample size and the selection bias of severely impaired patients limit the generalization of the results. More sophisticated measures of CHT may consent to explore other dimensions of the cyclothymic construct (i.e., emotional intensity, emotional reactivity, emotional stability, positive vs. negative emotions, interpersonal sensitivity, impulsivity).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)477-482
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2017


  • Adolescents
  • Cyclothymic-hypersensitive temperament
  • Mood disorders
  • Non suicidal self-injuries


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