A systematic review was conducted using four different databases and seven different search terms to address the following points: (1) what types of clinical treatment programs are currently being used to address self-harming behaviors in adolescents, (2) how do each of these programs define self-harm, (3) what theory guides these intervention programs, (4) and how effective are these programs at reducing self-harming behaviors in adolescents? Nine final studies were identified and the quality of the reporting of these studies was assessed using an extension of the CONSORT 2010 (Consort Group, 2010) checklist for pragmatic studies. The results of this study found a diverse range of treatment options available, differing definitions of self-harm as well as theories guiding the treatment interventions across all 9 studies, and varying degrees of effectiveness. Finally, of the three studies that reported success, two of these studies utilized DBT (and one other pilot study using DBT found a notable reduction in self-harm, but not significance); therefore, this review highlights the fact that DBT is a promising therapeutic approach for treating adolescent self-harm and is worthy of more rigorous research designs that can more fully evaluate its efficacy.

LLU Discipline





School of Behavioral Health

First Advisor

Freeman, Kimberly R.

Second Advisor

Arechiga, Adam

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded

January 2013

Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Self-Destructive Behavior in Adolescence; Adolescent Behavior; Self-Injurious Behavior -Therapy; Behavior Therapy

Subject - Local

Adolescents; Self-Injurious Behavior; Self-Harming Behaviors; Systematic Review; Clinical Treatment Programs


Doctoral Project

Page Count

71 p.

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses & Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives

Included in

Psychology Commons