Main Organiser

Julius Centre University of Malaya

Co-organiser

Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malay

Supported by

University of Malaya

DELIBERATE SELF HARM AMONG INPATIENT FEMALE ADOLESCENTS: ARE THEY ACTUALLY SUICIDAL?

Author

Aishvarya Sinniah 1,2 Karuthan Chinna 3 , Maisarah H 4 , Zaleha M 1 , T Maniam 1 , Lai-Fong Chan 1 , Oei TPS 2

Institution

1 University Kebangsaan Malaysia, Malaysia
2. CBT Unit, Toowong Hospital,   University of Queensland, Australia
3. University of Malaya, Malaysia
4. Hospital Tengku Ampuan Rahimah, Malaysia

Abstract

Objectives: Deliberate self harm (DSH) among young girls is reported to have reached epidemic proportions in some countries. This study aims to determine the factors associated with DSH among hospitalized female adolescents.

Methods: Eighty female adolescents admitted to a general hospital in Malaysia following DSH were compared with equal number of controls admitted for other medical illnesses, during the same period. Factors assessed were; socio demographic profile, suicide ideation, hopelessness, self esteem, coping skills, stress, anxiety and depression levels.

Results: Among the adolescents warded for DSH, 77.5% had suicidal ideation compared to 35.7% among the control group. Among those who had inflicted deliberate self harm, 75.7% considered it as one of the ways to solve problems. Other factors significantly associated with deliberate self harm were: ethnicity, religion, having problematic family/household relationship, living separately from parents, childhood abuse, having low self esteem, hopelessness and exposure to mass media.

Conclusion: Contrary to western studies three- quarters of adolescent girls engaging in DSH were suicidal and 36% of medically ill controls had suicidal ideation. Psychosocial factors should be targeted in youth suicide prevention besides addressing problem-solving skills.