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Research explores links between physical and emotional pain relief
Date:3/21/2013

nsight into why some people seek relief through self-injurious behavior.

Published in Psychological Science

The Nature of Pain Offset Relief in Nonsuicidal Self-Injury: A Laboratory Study
Joseph C. Franklin, Megan E. Puzia, Kent M. Lee, Grace E. Lee, Eleanor K. Hanna, Victoria L. Spring, and Mitchell J. Prinstein

In this study, the researchers examined whether the emotional relief that comes with physical pain removal might be a potential mechanism that could help to explain why some people engage in self-harm behaviors.

Participants with or without a history of self-harm were assessed for emotion dysregulation and reactivity, self-injurious behavior, and for psychiatric disorders. Using a similar recording electrode procedure as in the first study, Franklin and colleagues were able to measure positive and negative emotions in response to loud noises, either alone or after receiving a painful shock.

Surprisingly, healthy individuals displayed pain offset relief levels that were comparable to those of individuals with a history of self-harm, and there was no correlation between pain offset relief and self-harm frequency.

These results do not support the hypothesis that heightened pain offset relief is a risk factor for future self-injury. Instead, Franklin and colleagues speculate that the biggest risk factors for nonsuicidal self-injury may concern how some people overcome the instinctive barriers that keep most people from inflicting self-harm.

Published in Clinical Psychological Science


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Contact: Anna Mikulak
amikulak@psychologicalscience.org
202-293-9300
Association for Psychological Science
Source:Eurekalert

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