Year: 2023 Source: Crisis. (2012). 33(2), 106–112. DOI: 10.1027/0227-5910/a000127 SIEC No: 20231082
Background: Historically, the field of self-injury has distinguished between the behaviors exhibited among individuals with a developmental disability (self-injurious behaviors; SIB) and those present within a normative population (nonsuicidal self-injury; NSSI),which typically result as a response to perceived stress. More recently, however, conclusions about NSSI have been drawn from lines of animal research aimed at examining the neurobiological mechanisms of SIB. Despite some functional similarity between SIB and NSSI, no empirical investigation has provided precedent for the application of SIB-targeted animal research as justification for pharmacological interventions in populations demonstrating NSSI. Aims: The present study examined this question directly, by simulating an animal model of SIB in rodents injected with pemoline and systematically manipulating stress conditions in order to monitor rates of self-injury. Methods: Sham controls and experimental animals injected with pemoline (200 mg/kg) were assigned to either a low stress (discriminated positive reinforcement) or high stress (discriminated avoidance) group and compared on the dependent measures of self-inflicted injury prevalence and severity. Results: The manipulation of stress conditions did not impact the rate of self-injury demonstrated by the rats. The results do not support a model of stress-induced SIB in rodents. Conclusions: Current findings provide evidence for caution in the development of pharmacotherapies of NSSI in human populations based on CNS stimulant models. Theoretical implications are discussed with respect to antecedent factors such as preinjury arousal level and environmental stress.