Altered Neural Pain Empathic Reactivity in NSSI Adolescents
Nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) is defined as direct, deliberate bodily harm without suicidal intention. In recent years, growing evidence suggests that NSSI has become a worldwide public health issue. People with NSSI behaviors, especially adolescents, commonly exhibit emotion-related and interpersonal problems. Pain empathy represents an essential basal domain of socio-emotional processing and refers to the ability to empathize, connect and share with others' pain. However, altered empathic processing has not been systematically examined in adolescents with NSSI. To this end, the current functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study will recruit one group of NSSI adolescents (n=40) and one healthy control (HC) group (n=40), to compare their neural activity regarding pain empathy processing, which is measured by blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) fMRI. The investigators included conditions of physical pain empathy (stimuli depicting noxious stimulation to the limbs) and affective pain empathy (stimuli depicting faces expressing pain) as well as corresponding control stimuli. The investigators hypothesize that compared to HC, NSSI adolescents show increased empathic reactivity to physical pain stimuli in salience and arousal related brain regions but decreased empathic reactivity to affective pain empathic stimuli.
Arms and Interventions
Primary Outcome Measures
- Neural activity as indexed by BOLD fMRI [About 8 minutes]
Brain activity will be monitored by task-based fMRI. The paradigm will present affective and physical pain empathy pictures and matched control stimuli. Alterations in the patients will be determined by comparing neural activity to the experimental conditions between the experimental groups (NSSI vs. HC) using ANOVA models.
normal or corrected normal visual acuity
meet the proposed DSM-5 frequency criteria (e.g., ≥5 days of NSSI behaviors in the past year)
diagnosis of borderline personality disorder, major depressive disorder, other
psychiatric disorders, etc.
high suicidal risk
recent use of medications that can affect neural activity
have received or are receiving Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) other treatment for emotional problems within the past 6 months
have a contraindication to MRI scanning (e.g., metal implants, claustrophobia or other conditions that make them inappropriate for MRI scanning)
Contacts and Locations
LocationsNo locations specified.
Sponsors and Collaborators
- University of Electronic Science and Technology of China
Study Documents (Full-Text)None provided.