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Adolescents who self-harm are at increased risk of health and social problems as young adults
  1. Paul Moran
  1. Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London, 1.02, 1st Floor, David Goldberg Centre, London SE5 8AF, UK; paul.moran{at}kcl.ac.uk

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ABSTRACT FROM: Mars B, Heron J, Crane C, et al Clinical and social outcomes of adolescent self-harm: population based birth cohort study. BMJ 2014;349:g5954.

What is already known on the topic

Approximately 1 in 10 young people report having engaged in self-harm. Self-harm is the strongest clinical predictor of death by suicide and the behaviour causes great concern among family members, friends, teachers and clinicians.1 Recently, in Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Fifth Edition (DSM 5), a distinction has been made between ‘non-suicidal self-injury’ (NSSI) and attempted suicide. Yet little is known about whether this distinction is clinically meaningful or informative.2 In particular, it is unclear whether adolescent NSSI and self-harm with suicidal intent, are associated with distinctive patterns of health outcomes.

Methods of the study

The authors used data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) to investigate the early adult outcomes of adolescent self-harm with and without suicidal intent. ALSPAC is a large population-based birth cohort of over 14 000 children born in 1991–1992. The children have been intensively followed-up over two decades, with detailed assessments …

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