Factors associated with deliberate self-harm behaviour among depressed adolescent outpatients

Virpi Tuisku, Mirjami Pelkonen, Olli Kiviruusu, Linnea Karlsson, Titta Ruuttu, Mauri Marttunen
Journal of Adolescence 2009, 32 (5): 1125-36
This study examined whether depressed adolescent outpatients with deliberate self-harm behaviour (DSH) differed from non-suicidal depressed adolescent outpatients in depressive and anxiety symptoms, alcohol use, perceived social support and number of negative life-events. Depressed adolescent outpatients (n=155) aged 13-19 years were interviewed using K-SADS-PL for DSM-IV Axis I diagnoses and completed self-report questionnaires. Suicidal behaviour was assessed by K-SADS-PL suicidality items. Depressed adolescents with DSH were younger, perceived less support from the family, had more severe depressive symptoms and used more alcohol than non-suicidal depressed adolescents. Adolescents with DSH and suicidal ideation or suicide attempts had more depressive and anxiety symptoms than adolescents with DSH only. Adolescents with severe internalizing distress symptoms are at risk not only for DSH, but also additional suicidal behaviour. Family interventions may be needed in the treatment of depressed adolescents with DSH.

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