The multisenterstudy Child and Adolescent Self Harm in Europe aims at gaining more valid knowledge about the prevalence of deliberate self harm in adolescents and the factors associated with it. A new method was developed by which the adolescents' self-reported acts of deliberate self harm are included and categorised according to strict predefined criteria.
4060 11th grade students (response rate 91.2 %) aged 15 and 16 in 36 Norwegian high schools filled in an anonymous self-report questionnaire.
266 (6.6 %) reported one or more acts of deliberate self harm that met the study criteria over the course of the previous twelve-month period. Cutting (74.1 %) and self-poisoning (16.9 %) were most prevalent. 14.7 % had been in contact with a hospital; 46.7 % of self-poisoning episodes but only 6.1 % of cutting episodes were treated in hospital. Deliberate self harm was more common in females than in males (10.2 % vs 3.1 %, odds ratio 3.5, 95 % CI 2.66 - 4.72). Multiple logistic regression showed significant associations for both sexes between deliberate self harm and low self-esteem, deliberate self harm by friends, serious conflicts with parents, or drug misuse. For girls, alcohol misuse, parents being divorced, being sexually abused, anxiety and impulsivity were also significant; so was deliberate self harm in the family for boys.
Deliberate self harm among adolescents requires varied and intensified efforts.