Send to

Choose Destination
Dev Psychopathol. 2016 Feb;28(1):277-91. doi: 10.1017/S0954579415000449. Epub 2015 Jun 8.

Neural responses to monetary incentives among self-injuring adolescent girls.

Author information

Stony Brook University.
University of Washington.
Ohio State University.


Rates of self-inflicted injury among adolescents have risen in recent years, yet much remains to be learned about the pathophysiology of such conduct. Self-injuring adolescents report high levels of both impulsivity and depression behaviorally. Aberrant neural responding to incentives, particularly in striatal and prefrontal regions, is observed among both impulsive and depressed adolescents, and may mark common vulnerability to symptoms of anhedonia, irritability, and low positive affectivity. To date, however, no studies have examined associations between central nervous system reward responding and self-injury. In the current study, self-injuring (n = 19) and control (n = 19) adolescent females, ages 13-19 years, participated in a monetary incentive delay task in which rewards were obtained on some trials and losses were incurred on others. Consistent with previous findings from impulsive and depressed samples, self-injuring adolescents exhibited less activation in both striatal and orbitofrontal cortex regions during anticipation of reward than did controls. Self-injuring adolescents also exhibited reduced bilateral amygdala activation during reward anticipation. Although few studies to date have examined amygdala activity during reward tasks, such findings are common among adults with mood disorders and borderline personality disorder. Implications for neural models of impulsivity, depression, heterotypic comorbidity, and development of both self-injury and borderline personality traits are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Cambridge University Press
Loading ...
Support Center