Publication Date



Alpha Psychiatry




Objective: Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI), defined as a deliberate destruction of one’s own body without a suicidal intent, is a global public health issue. Adverse childhood events (ACEs) have been shown to be associated with various mental illnesses; however, to date the impact of such events on NSSI in youth has not been reviewed.

Methods: We conducted a systematic review, searched 5 databases for published articles evaluating ACE and NSSI in youth less than or equal to 21 years of age. After screening 247 articles, we included 21 unique articles in this systematic review.

Results: Increasing ACE score, physical, sexual or emotional abuse, parental neglect and substance use, parental separation or dysfunctional family, and death of a close family member had statistically significant correlation with NSSI.

Conclusion: Non-suicidal self-injury is an impairing diagnosis with far reaching psychiatric manifestations and repercussions. Practitioners having high clinical suspicion for ACEs in youth with NSSI must intervene early by administering the ACEs questionnaire. Effective treatment of NSSI in those with ACEs with psychotherapy significantly improves outcomes and prevents suicide in youth.


Adverse childhood experiences, non-suicidal self-injury, systematic review, youth

Published Open-Access


Included in

Psychiatry Commons



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