BMJ open 2017 12 067(12) e017949 doi 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-017949
The aim of this study was to investigate differences and similarities in risk factors for deliberate self-harm (DSH) and suicidal attempt (SA), and the role of impulsivity among a group of community adolescents.
This is a cross-sectional study conducted at high schools in Northern Taiwan.
DATA AND PARTICIPANTS
We recruited grade 1 students from 14 high schools. A total of 5879 participants (mean age 16.02 years, female adolescents: 57.7%) completed the online assessment.
Participants completed online questionnaires about sociodemographic data, suicidality, history of DSH and SA, depressed mood, self-esteem, social support, family discord, impulsivity (Barratt Impulsiveness Scale Version 11 (BIS-11)) and the use of alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs. A subsample was interviewed about lifetime SA, and the results were compared with those from the online questionnaires.
In our sample, 25% of the students had lifetime DSH and 3.5% had lifetime SA. Two hundred and seventy-two students received face-to-face interviews. The concordance between the online questionnaires and interviews in terms of ascertaining cases of SA was moderate (concordance rate 82.76%; kappa value 0.59). Similar risk factors for DSH/SA among the whole sample included female gender, lower academic performance, depression, substance use (tobacco and alcohol) and low self-esteem. The BIS-11 score was correlated with DSH. Factor 3 score of the BIS-11 (novelty seeking) was correlated with DSH in both boys and girls, whereas factor 2 score (lack of self-control) was correlated with SA in boys. Social support was a protective factor against SA among the female adolescents. Gender modulated the association of impulsivity and DSH/SA. Associations between impulsivity and DSH and SA were particularly strong among boys.
Risk factors for DSH and SA were similar, but not identical. Early identification of those at risk and appropriate interventions may be helpful.