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Self-injurious behavior starts during adolescence and may be an attempt to cope with psychological distress. In this study of 2875 students from 2 universities, 10.1% reported self-injurious behavior, three-fourths of whom reported this behavior occurring more than once. Those with such behavior were nearly 4-fold more likely to also report suicidality and nearly 10-fold more likely to have attempted suicide. Individuals with both self-injurious behaviors and suicidality were more likely to have been abused and to have an eating disorder than students without such behaviors. This study suggests that while self-injurious behavior may be a coping mechanism employed to avoid suicide, it may also serve as a harbinger of all forms of suicidality in some individuals and its presence should trigger assessment for suicide risk.
This Month in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2007;161(7):629. doi:10.1001/archpedi.161.7.629
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