Self-injury in Australia: A community survey

Martin, Graham, Swannell, Sarah V., Hazell, Philip L., Harrison, James E. and Taylor, Anne W. (2010) Self-injury in Australia: A community survey. Medical Journal of Australia, 193 9: 506-510.

Attached Files (Some files may be inaccessible until you login with your UQ eSpace credentials)
Name Description MIMEType Size Downloads
Author Martin, Graham
Swannell, Sarah V.
Hazell, Philip L.
Harrison, James E.
Taylor, Anne W.
Title Self-injury in Australia: A community survey
Journal name Medical Journal of Australia   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0025-729X
Publication date 2010-11-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
Volume 193
Issue 9
Start page 506
End page 510
Total pages 5
Place of publication Strawberry Hills, NSW, Australia
Publisher Australasian Medical Publishing Company
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Subject 111714 Mental Health
170113 Social and Community Psychology
111708 Health and Community Services
920209 Mental Health Services
920414 Substance Abuse
920503 Health Related to Specific Ethnic Groups
Formatted abstract
Objective: To understand self-injury and its correlates in the Australian population.
Design, participants and setting: Cross-sectional survey, using computer-assisted
telephone interview, of a representative sample of 12 006 Australians from randomly
selected households.
Main outcome measures: Data on demographics, self-injury, psychiatric morbidity,
substance use, suicidality, disclosure and help-seeking.
Results: In the 4 weeks before the survey, 1.1% of the sample self-injured. For females, self-injury peaked in 15–24-year-olds; for males, it peaked in 10–19-year-olds. The youngest self-injurers were nine boys and three girls in the 10–14-year age group, and the oldest were one female and one male in the 75–84-year age group. Mean age of onset was 17 years, but the oldest age of onset was 44 years for males and 60 years for females. No statistically significant differences existed between those who did and did not self-injure on sex, socioeconomic status or Indigenous status. Most common self-injury method was cutting; most common motivation was to manage emotions. Frequency of self-injury during the 4-week period ranged from 1 to 50 instances (mean, 7). Self-injurers were significantly more psychologically distressed, and also more likely to use substances. Adults who self-injured were more likely to have received a psychiatric diagnosis. Selfi-njurers were more likely to have experienced recent suicidal ideation (OR, 11.56; 95% CI,  8.14–16.41), and have ever attempted suicide (OR, 8.51; 95% CI, 5.70–12.69). Most respondents told someone about their self-injury but fewer than half sought help.
Conclusion: The prevalence of self-injury in Australia in the 4 weeks before the survey was substantial and self-injury may begin at older ages than previously reported. Self-injurers are more likely to have mental health problems and are at higher risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviour than non-self-injurers, and many self-injurers do not seek help. ©The Medical Journal of Australia 2010
Keyword Self-injury
Psychiatric morbidity
Suicide and substance use
Mental health status
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2011 Collection
School of Medicine Publications
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 39 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 0 times in Scopus Article
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Wed, 27 Oct 2010, 10:43:37 EST by Sheila Cleary on behalf of Psychiatry - Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital