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Appears in Collections:Psychology Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Self-harm in adolescents: self-report survey in schools in Scotland
Author(s): O'Connor, Rory
Rasmussen, Susan
Miles, Jeremy
Hawton, Keith
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Keywords: Self-harm
Self-destructive behavior in adolescence
Teenagers Suicidal behavior Scotland
Youth Suicidal behavior Scotland
Suicide Prevention Scotland
Issue Date: Jan-2009
Date Deposited: 9-Feb-2009
Citation: O'Connor R, Rasmussen S, Miles J & Hawton K (2009) Self-harm in adolescents: self-report survey in schools in Scotland. British Journal of Psychiatry, 194 (1), pp. 68-72.
Abstract: Background Given that the suicide rate in Scotland is twice as high as that in England, the central aim is to determine the prevalence of self-harm in adolescents in Scotland and the factors associated with it. Method 2008 pupils aged 15 and 16 years old completed an anonymous lifestyle and coping survey. Information was obtained on demographic characteristics, lifestyle, life events/problems, social influences, psychological variables and self-harm. Results 13.8% of the respondents reported an act of self-harm. The majority of those (71%) who had self-harmed did so in the past 12 months and females were approximately 3.4 times more likely to report self-harm than males. In multivariate analyses, smoking, bullying, worries about sexual orientation, self-harm by family and anxiety were associated with self-harm in both sexes. In addition, drug use, physical abuse, serious boy/girlfriend problems, self-harm by friends and low levels of optimism were also associated with female elf-harm. Conclusions Despite markedly different national suicide rates, the prevalence of self-harm in Scotland is similar to that in England with females at least three times more likely to report self-harm compared to males. The findings suggest a role for emotional literacy programmes in schools and they highlight the importance of promoting positive mental health among adolescents.
DOI Link: 10.1192/bjp.bp.107.047704
Rights: This is an author-produced electronic version of an article accepted for publication in the British Journal of Psychiatry. The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online at

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