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J Psychiatr Res. 1997 Jul-Aug;31(4):451-65.

Impulsivity in self-mutilative behavior: psychometric and biological findings.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Aachen, Germany.


This paper examines impulsivity as a central factor in moderate/superficial self-mutilation such as skin-cutting and burning. A sample of 165 subjects were divided into four groups, namely self-mutilators, patients with any modes of impulsive behavior other than self-mutilation, patients without any impulsive behavior, and normal probands. All were administered the 10th version of the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale, the State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory, and the Inventory for the Assessment of Factors of Aggressiveness. They also were interviewed carefully in regards to both impulsive and self-mutilative behavior. A d-fenfluramine challenge test was administered to 36 females and prolactin levels were measured. On the whole results implicate impulsive personality functioning as a major factor in subjects with moderate/superficial self-mutilative behavior whose trait pathology is similar to personality disordered patients with other modes of self-harming impulsive behavior.

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