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Psychological subtyping finds pathological, impulsive, and 'normal' groups among adolescents who self-harm.
J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2009 Jul; 50(7):807-15.JC

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Research to date suggests that as many as 12-15% of young people engage in self-harm behaviour; however, the current understanding of the psychological basis of adolescent self-harm is limited. The objective was to determine whether adolescents who self-harm are a psychologically homogenous group. It was hypothesised that psychological subtypes would exist and these groups would report different rates of self-harm.

METHOD

Nine hundred and forty-four school students aged 11 to 19 and 166 first-year psychology students aged 21 or younger completed a self-report questionnaire. Participants were aged 11 to 21 (mean = 15.4, SD = 2.1). Sixty-two percent of the sample were female (n = 692). Students were allocated to psychologically distinct groups. Rates of self-harm were compared for the psychological subtypes of self-harmers.

RESULTS

Two hundred and thirty-four participants reported lifetime self-harm (21.1%; 95% CI 19-23%) and 78 reported recent self-harm (7.0%; 95% CI 6.7-7.3%). The present study identified three psychologically quite distinct groups of adolescents within those who reported self-harm - a psychologically pathological group, a psychologically 'normal' group, and an impulsive group. The pathological group reported the highest rate of recent self-harm (50.9%); the psychologically 'normal' and impulsive groups reported similar rates of self-harm (28.7% and 24.6%, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS

Adolescents who self-harm are not a psychologically homogenous group. One pathological subtype of self-harmers appears to most closely reflect a number of the psychological and social factors previously associated with self-harm. However, a large proportion of the sample was allocated the psychologically 'normal' subtype. This finding highlights the importance of psychological screening of adolescents presenting for treatment for self-harm as subtypes of self-harmers may require disparate strategies for intervention. Further research is required in order to identify appropriate treatment strategies for each subtype.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Standord University, Stanford, CA, USA.No affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Language

eng

PubMed ID

19490314

Citation

Stanford, Sarah, and Michael P. Jones. "Psychological Subtyping Finds Pathological, Impulsive, and 'normal' Groups Among Adolescents Who Self-harm." Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, and Allied Disciplines, vol. 50, no. 7, 2009, pp. 807-15.
Stanford S, Jones MP. Psychological subtyping finds pathological, impulsive, and 'normal' groups among adolescents who self-harm. J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2009;50(7):807-15.
Stanford, S., & Jones, M. P. (2009). Psychological subtyping finds pathological, impulsive, and 'normal' groups among adolescents who self-harm. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, and Allied Disciplines, 50(7), 807-15. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7610.2009.02067.x
Stanford S, Jones MP. Psychological Subtyping Finds Pathological, Impulsive, and 'normal' Groups Among Adolescents Who Self-harm. J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2009;50(7):807-15. PubMed PMID: 19490314.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Psychological subtyping finds pathological, impulsive, and 'normal' groups among adolescents who self-harm. AU - Stanford,Sarah, AU - Jones,Michael P, Y1 - 2009/03/31/ PY - 2009/6/4/entrez PY - 2009/6/6/pubmed PY - 2009/9/17/medline SP - 807 EP - 15 JF - Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines JO - J Child Psychol Psychiatry VL - 50 IS - 7 N2 - BACKGROUND: Research to date suggests that as many as 12-15% of young people engage in self-harm behaviour; however, the current understanding of the psychological basis of adolescent self-harm is limited. The objective was to determine whether adolescents who self-harm are a psychologically homogenous group. It was hypothesised that psychological subtypes would exist and these groups would report different rates of self-harm. METHOD: Nine hundred and forty-four school students aged 11 to 19 and 166 first-year psychology students aged 21 or younger completed a self-report questionnaire. Participants were aged 11 to 21 (mean = 15.4, SD = 2.1). Sixty-two percent of the sample were female (n = 692). Students were allocated to psychologically distinct groups. Rates of self-harm were compared for the psychological subtypes of self-harmers. RESULTS: Two hundred and thirty-four participants reported lifetime self-harm (21.1%; 95% CI 19-23%) and 78 reported recent self-harm (7.0%; 95% CI 6.7-7.3%). The present study identified three psychologically quite distinct groups of adolescents within those who reported self-harm - a psychologically pathological group, a psychologically 'normal' group, and an impulsive group. The pathological group reported the highest rate of recent self-harm (50.9%); the psychologically 'normal' and impulsive groups reported similar rates of self-harm (28.7% and 24.6%, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: Adolescents who self-harm are not a psychologically homogenous group. One pathological subtype of self-harmers appears to most closely reflect a number of the psychological and social factors previously associated with self-harm. However, a large proportion of the sample was allocated the psychologically 'normal' subtype. This finding highlights the importance of psychological screening of adolescents presenting for treatment for self-harm as subtypes of self-harmers may require disparate strategies for intervention. Further research is required in order to identify appropriate treatment strategies for each subtype. SN - 1469-7610 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/19490314/Psychological_subtyping_finds_pathological_impulsive_and_'normal'_groups_among_adolescents_who_self_harm_ L2 - https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7610.2009.02067.x DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -