Teens who hurt them­selves more likely to hurt oth­ers

The Borneo Post - Nature and health - - Front Page -

TEENS who harm them­selves are three times more likely to com­mit vi­o­lent crimes than those who don’t, a new study re­veals. “We know that some in­di­vid­u­als who self-harm also in­flict harm on oth­ers,” said study au­thor Leah Rich­mond-Rak­erd, from Duke Uni­ver­sity. “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,” she added in a uni­ver­sity news re­lease. “Iden­ti­fy­ing these risk fac­tors could guide in­ter­ven­tions that pre­vent and re­duce in­ter­per­sonal vi­o­lence.”

The in­ves­ti­ga­tors also found that ado­les­cents who harm them­selves and com­mit vi­o­lent crimes are likely to have been mis­treated in child­hood and have poor self-con­trol. In­ci­dents of teens cut­ting or burn­ing them­selves have sub­stan­tially in­creased in re­cent years, both in the United States and the United King­dom. Among teen girls, about one in four tries to harm her­self, as do one in 10 teen boys. In the United King­dom, the in­ci­dence of self-in­jury among teen girls has risen nearly 70 per cent in three years, the re­searchers found. For the study, Rich­mond-Rak­erd and col­leagues com­pared young peo­ple who en­gage in “dual-harm” be­hav­iour -- self-harm plus vi­o­lent crime -- with those who only self-harm. The study par­tic­i­pants in­cluded more than 2,200 UK twins born in 1994 and 1995, who took part in the En­vi­ron­men­tal Risk (E-Risk) Lon­gi­tu­di­nal Twin Study. The twins were fol­lowed across their first 20 years of life.The find­ings showed that self-harm and vi­o­lent crime didn’t go to­gether be­cause of ge­net­ics or fam­ily risk fac­tors, ac­cord­ing to

Ter­rie Mof­fitt, founder of the E-Risk Study. “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,” Mof­fitt said. The re­searchers con­cluded that teens who harmed them­selves and oth­ers were likely to have been vic­timised.

They also had higher rates of drug and al­co­hol ad­dic­tion, and men­tal prob­lems. Rich­mond-Rak­erd said that the study find­ings sug­gest that “dual-harm­ing ado­les­cents have ex­pe­ri­enced self-con­trol dif­fi­cul­ties and been vic­tims of vi­o­lence from a young age. A treat­ment-ori­ented rather than punishment-ori­ented ap­proach is in­di­cated to meet these in­di­vid­u­als’ needs.” The study au­thors ad­vised that teens who harm them­selves should be eval­u­ated for the risk of sui­cide and the risk that they might harm oth­ers. In ad­di­tion, help­ing self-harm­ers learn self-con­trol might help pre­vent vi­o­lent crime and re­duce other harm­ful be­hav­iour. The re­port was pub­lished in the Amer­i­can Jour­nal of Psy­chi­a­try.

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

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