About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Self-harming Teens are 3 Times More Likely to Commit Violent Crimes

by Adeline Dorcas on January 5, 2019 at 2:38 PM
Font : A-A+

Self-harming Teens are 3 Times More Likely to Commit Violent Crimes

Teens who harm themselves are thrice likely to have harmful behaviors and commit violent crimes, reports a new study. The findings of the study are published in The American Journal of Psychiatry.

Young people who self-harm are three times more likely to commit violent crime than those who do not, according to new research from the Center for Child and Family Policy at Duke University.

Advertisement


The study also found young people who harm themselves and commit violent crime -- "dual harmers" -- are more likely to have a history of childhood maltreatment and lower self-control than those who only self-harm. Thus, programs aimed at preventing childhood maltreatment or improving self-control among self-harmers could help prevent violent crime, the authors state.

Rates of self-harm -- deliberately harming oneself, often by cutting or burning -- have increased substantially among adolescents in recent years both in the United States and the United Kingdom. In the U.S., roughly one in four teenage girls try to harm themselves and one in 10 teenage boys. In the U.K., the yearly incidence of self-injury among teenage girls has risen by nearly 70 percent in three years.
Advertisement

"We know that some individuals who self-harm also inflict harm on others," said Leah Richmond-Rakerd, lead author of the study. "What has not been clear is whether there are early-life characteristics or experiences that increase the risk of violent offending among individuals who self-harm. Identifying these risk factors could guide interventions that prevent and reduce interpersonal violence."

In the study, Richmond-Rakerd and researchers from Duke and King's College London compared young people who engage in "dual-harm" behavior with those who only self-harm.

Participants were from the Environmental Risk (E-Risk) Longitudinal Twin Study, a nationally representative U.K. cohort of 2,232 twins born in 1994 and 1995 who have been followed across the first two decades of life. Self-harm in adolescence was assessed through interviews at age 18. Violent offenses were assessed using a computer questionnaire at age 18 and police records through age 22.

"By comparing twins who grew up in the same family, we were able to test whether self-harm and violent crime go together merely because they come from the same genetic or family risk factors," said Terrie E. Moffitt of Duke University, founder of the E-Risk Study. "They did not. This means that young people who self-harm may see violence as a way of solving problems and begin to use it against others as well as themselves."

Researchers also found that those who committed violence against both themselves and others were more likely to have experienced victimization in adolescence. They also had higher rates of psychotic symptoms and substance dependence.

"Our study suggests that dual-harming adolescents have experienced self-control difficulties and been victims of violence from a young age," said Richmond-Rakerd. "A treatment-oriented rather than punishment-oriented approach is indicated to meet these individuals' needs."

Additional recommendations include:

  • After incidents of self-harm, clinicians should routinely evaluate a person's risk of suicide. Clinicians should also assess a person's risk of committing acts of violence against others.
  • Improving self-control among self-harmers could help prevent violent crime. Self-harming adolescents should be provided with self-control training, which may reduce further harmful behaviors.
  • Self-harm and violent crime have largely been studied separately within the fields of psychology, psychiatry and criminology. Interdisciplinary research should be pursued, since it could yield new insights.


Source: Eurekalert
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Can Adjusting Fatty Acid Intake Improve Mood in Bipolar Disorder Patients?
Insulin Resistance Doubles the Risk of Major Depressive Disorder
Emotional Healing
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.


Recommended Reading
Self Harm Training Among Staff Members at School Not Adequate: Study
Self-harm training among staff members has been found to be not adequate. It seems only 53 percent ....
Mini Mental State Examination and Deliberate Self-Harm
The term suicide denotes self-planned and deliberate termination of one's life. Suicide is the most ...
Difficulty in Social Communication Linked to Risk of Self-harm and Suicidal Behavior in Children
Children with social communication difficulties were found to inflict more self-harm with suicidal ....
Higher Risk of Suicide, Self-harm Among LGB Students
Low self-esteem may explain the increased risk of self-harm and attempted suicide in Lesbian, Gay .....

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use