Nonsuicidal physically self-damaging acts in adolescents

Carol Z. Garrison, Cheryl L. Addy, Robert E. McKeown, Steven P. Cuffe, Kirby L. Jackson, Jennifer L. Waller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


To determine the frequency and correlates of nonsuicidal physically self-damaging acts in 12-14 year olds, a two stage epidemiologic survey with a self-administered questionnaire (N=3283) followed by a psychiatric interview of a subsample of the adolescents and their parents (N=444) was used. Prevalence estimates of interview validated nonsuicidal physically self-damaging acts were 2.46% in males and 2.79% in females. Significant relationships were found between nonsuicidal physically self-damaging acts and suicidal ideation, major depression and undesirable life events. Data suggest that physically self-damaging acts occur at substantial rates during early adolescence. The strong correlation between nonsuicidal self-destructive acts and both suicidal ideation and major depression clarifies prior conflicting reports in the literature and suggests that a history of self-damaging acts should be taken into consideration when evaluating for possible depression and suicide risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)339-352
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • adolescence
  • self-injurious behavior
  • self-mutilation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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