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Group therapy does not reduce repeated deliberate self-harm in adolescents

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Question

Question:

Using a method that replicates a previous trial,1 does group therapy prevent repeat deliberate self-harm in adolescents?

Patients:

72 adolescents aged 12–16 years (mean age 14 years, 91% female) with a minimum of two reported episodes of self-harm in the last year, with one in the last 3 months. All participants had been referred to child and adolescent mental health services. Self-harm included cutting (97%), head banging (71%), medication overdose (57%), smothering (36%), strangling (25%), other poisoning (19%), attempted drowning (19%), jumping from a height (17%) and other self-harm (35%). Main exclusions: unable to attend groups, acute psychosis, intensive treatment required due to danger of imminent self-harm or unlikely to benefit from group intervention.

Setting:

Community based adolescent mental health services in Newcastle, Brisbane North and Logan, Australia; time period not stated.

Intervention:

The intervention comprises elements of cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), social skills training, interpersonal psychotherapy and group psychotherapy. Weekly group sessions lasting 1 h were held for 6 weeks. These initial sessions were oriented around family problems, anger management, depression and self-harm, …

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