Differences between non-suicidal self injury and suicide attempt in Chinese adolescents

Sugai Liang, Jing Yan, Tao Zhang, Cuizhen Zhu, Minging Situ, Na Du, Xueyin Fu, Yi Huang
Asian Journal of Psychiatry 2014, 8: 76-83

PURPOSE: Self-harm behaviors are predominant health risks among adolescents. This study aimed to elucidate the lifetime prevalence and differences in social psychological factors between non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) and suicide attempt (SA) among Chinese adolescents.

METHOD: Data were collected from 2131 middle school students with a mean age of 13.92 (SD 1.63) years (49.1% girls). Participants were asked to self-report NSSI and SA over their lifetime. Post hoc tests pairwise comparisons and multinomial logistic regression analyses were conducted to investigate differences and similarities between subjects with NSSI and attempted suicide.

RESULTS: The prevalence of lifetime NSSI and SA endorsed by the participants were 23.2% and 3.2%, respectively, and the co-occurrence of these two behaviors (NSSI+SA) was reported to 2.3%. Boys were comparable with girls in the prevalence rate of NSSI, but not in the rate of SA. It revealed that single-child was not the risk factor for self-harm behavior in Mainland China, but lower higher family cohesion and adaptability. Factors that distinguished the NSSI+SA group from the NSSI only group were female gender, lower grade, impulsivity, health risk behaviors and family cohesion. Being female gender, single-parent family, depressive symptoms and impulsivity were factors differentiating attempted suicide from NSSI.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that Chinese adolescents engaging both in NSSI and SA had severe suicidal attempts and were different from those who engaged in NSSI alone.

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