Systematic Review

Understanding the Impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences on Non-suicidal Self-Injury in Youth: A Systematic Review


Department of Internal Medicine, Insight Hospital and Medical Center, Chicago, IL, USA


Department of Psychiatry, Smolensk State Medical University, Smolensk Oblast, Russia


Department of Psychiatry, Dow University of Health Sciences, Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan


Department of Internal Medicine, Government Medical College, Baskshi Nagar, Jammu, Jammu and Kashmir, India


Department of Internal Medicine, Texas Woman’s University, Southwestern Medical Ave., Dallas, TX, USA


Department of Psychiatry, Texas Medical Center Library, Houston, TX, USA


Department of Internal Medicine, King Edward Medical University, Nila Gumbad Chowk, Neela Gumbad, Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan


Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada


Department of Psychiatry, University of Texas Health Sciences Center, Houston, TX, USA


Department of Psychiatry, Wake Forest University School of Medicine Program, Winston-Salem, NC, USA


Department of Psychiatry, Oklahoma State University, Tulsa, OK, USA


Department of Psychiatry, Griffin Memorial Hospital, Norman, OK, USA


Department of Psychiatry, Psychosis Research Center, University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences, Tehran, Iran


Department of Psychiatry, ASL 4 Teramo, Teramo, Italy


Department of Psychiatry, DH Pulwama, Kashmir, India


Department of Psychiatry, Sharda University, Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India


Department of Psychiatry, Mind wellness Center, Nawab Bazar Srinagar, India

Alpha Psychiatry 2024; 25: 150-164
DOI: 10.5152/alphapsychiatry.2024.231139
Read: 2338 Downloads: 2214 Published: 24 April 2024

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.

Cite this article as: Suhail Usmani S, Mehendale M, Yousif Shaikh M, et al. Understanding the impact of adverse childhood experiences on non-suicidal self-injury in youth: A systematic review. Alpha Psychiatry. 2024;25(2):150-164.

EISSN 2757-8038