One in 12 teenagers self harm but most stop spontaneously

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 17 November 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d7482
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. 1London

One in 12 adolescents self harm but only a tenth of these continue to do so into adulthood, says a longitudinal study based in Australia.

The research, published in the Lancet, is the first population based study to chart the incidence of self harm during the transition from late adolescence through to adulthood (doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(11)61141-0).

A stratified random sample of 1943 adolescents were recruited from 44 schools in the state of Victoria, Australia, and followed up at nine points from 1992 to 2008. The mean age at the starting point was 15 years and 29 years during the final wave of follow-up.

A total of 1802 responded in the adolescent phase with 149 (8%) reporting self harm. More girls (10%) …

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