A cognitive-emotional model of NSSI: using emotion regulation and cognitive processes to explain why people self-injure

Penelope Hasking, Janis Whitlock, David Voon, Alyssa Rose

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172 Citations (Scopus)


Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) is a complex behaviour, routinely engaged for emotion regulatory purposes. As such, a number of theoretical accounts regarding the aetiology and maintenance of NSSI are grounded in models of emotion regulation; the role that cognition plays in the behaviour is less well known. In this paper, we summarise four models of emotion regulation that have repeatedly been related to NSSI and identify the core components across them. We then draw on social cognitive theory to unite models of cognition and models of emotion in developing a new cognitive-emotional model of NSSI. Our model articulates how emotion regulation and cognition can work in concert to govern NSSI, and offers several new research questions that can be addressed within this framework.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1543-1556
Number of pages14
JournalCognition and Emotion
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 17 Nov 2017


  • emotion regulation
  • expectancies
  • NSSI
  • self-efficacy
  • social cognition

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