See What HealthDay Can Do For You
Contact Us

Self-Harm Frequency Reduces From Adolescence to Adulthood

Adolescent depression and anxiety symptoms tied to incident self-harm in young adulthood

THURSDAY, Nov. 17 (HealthDay News) -- The frequency of self-harm reduces substantially from middle to late adolescence to young adulthood, according to a study published online Nov. 17 in The Lancet.

Paul Moran, M.D., from King's College London, and colleagues described the course of self-harm from middle adolescence to young adulthood. A total of 1,943 adolescents were recruited between August 1992 and January 2008. Data regarding self-harm were obtained through questionnaires and telephonic interviews conducted at seven waves of follow-up, starting and ending at a mean age of 15.9 and 29.0 years, respectively. Data from waves three to six were summarized for cannabis use, cigarette smoking, high-risk alcohol use, depression, anxiety, antisocial behaviour, and parental separation or divorce.

The investigators found that 8 percent of 1,802 respondents in the adolescent phase reported self-harm, with more girls reporting self-harm than boys (10 versus 6 percent; risk ratio, 1.6). There was a substantial reduction in the frequency of self-harm during late adolescence. Of the participants who reported self-harm during adolescence, 122 reported no further self-harm in young adulthood. There was stronger continuity in girls than boys (13 of 888 versus one of 764). Incident self-harm during adolescence independently correlated with symptoms of depression and anxiety, antisocial behaviour, high-risk alcohol use, cannabis use, and cigarette smoking (hazard ratios, 3.7, 1.9, 2.1, 2.4, and 1.8, respectively). Symptoms of depression and anxiety in adolescence showed a clear association with incident self-harm during adulthood.

"A substantial reduction in the frequency of self-harm occurred during late adolescence and continued into young adulthood," the authors write.

Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)
Editorial (subscription or payment may be required)

Physician's Briefing


HealthDay is the world’s largest syndicator of health news and content, and providers of custom health/medical content.

Consumer Health News

A health news feed, reviewing the latest and most topical health stories.

Professional News

A news feed for Health Care Professionals (HCPs), reviewing latest medical research and approvals.