Risks of youth self-harm are identifiable

May 10, 2021

Self-harm in young people has been correlated with a number of situations or conditions. Being female is a particularly strong correlate. In one systematic review, girls were noted to be 1.7 times more likely than boys to harm themselves. Another survey has found even more pronounced gender differences, with girls harming themselves at triple the rate of boys (24% vs. 8%). Other correlates of youth self-harm include:

  • low socio-economic status,
  • parenting problems,
  • adverse childhood experiences (including child maltreatment),
  • exposure to others harming themselves,
  • concerns about sexual orientation,
  • limited problem-solving skills, and
  • mental health problems (including depression, anxiety and substance misuse).

In particular, researchers have found that being victimized is a particularly strong risk factor for self-harm — including being maltreated by parents, peers or siblings, and being a victim of cyberbullying or a crime. For more information, see Vol. 13, No. 3 of the Children’s Mental Health Research Quarterly.