Deliberate self-harm in young people: Differences in prevalence and risk factors between The Netherlands and Belgium

Unit for Suicide Research, Dept of Psychiatry, University Hospital, De Pintelaan 185, Gent 9000, Belgium.
European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 3.34). 10/2007; 17(3):179-86. DOI: 10.1007/s00787-007-0652-x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This study aimed to examine prevalence and risk factors of deliberate self-harm in Dutch and Dutch-speaking Belgian adolescents.
A cross sectional survey using an anonymous self report questionnaire was performed in both countries. Data on 4,431 Belgian and 4,458 Dutch 15-16 year-old school pupils were analyzed.
Results showed a significant difference between the two countries indicating that lifetime and past year prevalence of deliberate self-harm were both 2.8 times higher in Belgian adolescents than in Dutch adolescents. Further analyses identified differences in the prevalence of factors associated with deliberate self-harm, with Belgian adolescents showing significant higher scores on anxiety, less problem-oriented coping and more common use of alcohol and soft drugs. Belgian adolescents were also at higher risk for the experience of several life events in the previous year and before that such as conflicts with peers, parents and partner, being bullied at school or exposure to suicidal behavior in family and friends. In addition, Belgian adolescents showed less communication with family or teachers about their problems and difficulties.
The results of the study suggest that the increased risk of deliberate self-harm among Belgian adolescents may be associated with an increased reporting of several important life events and with additional ineffective problem-solving such as less problem-oriented coping, more substance use and less communication about their problems. These results support the assumption that sociocultural aspects of nations can influence the risk of deliberate self-harm and are important to consider when developing prevention strategies.

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Available from: Erik Jan De Wilde, Dec 18, 2014
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    • "Swahn et al. (2012) reported 20.3% prevalence in a sample of 4,100 students of primary and secondary schools in the urban areas of the U.S.; Plener et al. (2009) found 25.6% prevalence in German adolescents. Similar findings have been reported by a number of other authors (e.g., Izutsu et al., 2006; Portzky, De Wilde & van Heeringen, 2008; Kvernmo & Rosenvinge, 2009). A behaviour which was just recently considered highly pathological has now become such a common occurrence that as many as 20% adolescents try it at least one in their lifetime. "
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to investigate possible associations between parenting styles and the occurrence of self-harm in adolescence, in the context of potential gender differences. In a large-scale survey, we administered a questionnaire asking about basic demographic characteristics, perceived quality of relationships within the respondents’ families, and the occurrence of self-injurious behavior. The questionnaire therefore contained the Self-Harm Behavior Questionnaire (Gutierrez, 2001) and the Self-Harm Inventory (Sansone, Sansone & Wiedermann, 1995), and the Questionnaire for the Assessment of Parenting Styles in the Family (Čáp, 1994). The research sample consisted of 1,466 respondents aged between 11 and 16 years, of whom almost 20% had at least some experience with self-harm. Adolescents living in two-parent families were less likely to harm themselves: Nearly 60% of all adolescents coming from complete families had no experience with self-harm at all. Adolescents from single-parent families, on the other hand, were most frequently found among experimenters and chronic self-harmers – in both groups they constituted more than 20% of respondents. The study yielded interesting findings regarding the quality of respondents’ relationships with parents as well as perceived parenting styles, with self-harm occurring very frequently with weak and inconsistent parenting styles (around 40% each).
    Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 01/2015; 171. DOI:10.1016/j.sbspro.2015.01.272
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    • "NSSI is also associated with a number of psychological characteristics. This includes the tendency to experience negative emotions as more intense (Gratz, 2006), difficulties expressing emotions (Gratz, 2006; Pavio & McCulloch, 2004), anxiousness (Brown & Williams, 2007), low mood (Fliege et al., 2006), aggressiveness (Brown & Williams, 2007), impulsivity (Herpetz, Sass, & Favazza, 1997) dissociation/derealisation (Zlotnick, Mattia, & Zimmerman, 1999), low self-esteem (Boudewyn & Liem, 1995), selfblame (Herpetz et al., 1997), hopelessness (Milnes, Owens, & Blenkiron, 2002), low selfefficacy (Fliege et al., 2004), recent critical life events (Portzkey, de Wilde, & van Heeringen, 2008), perceived stress (Fliege et al., 2006), and lack of coping skills (Brown & Williams, 2007). A number of adverse childhood experiences have also been associated with NSSI. "
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    ABSTRACT: Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) is being increasingly recognised as a behaviour of significant clinical importance. Yet, there remains uncertainty regarding the underlying mechanisms of NSSI. This study aimed to explore the relationship between maladaptive schema modes, parental bonding, and NSSI. Seventy psychiatric outpatients with a history of NSSI completed the Deliberate Self-Harm Inventory, Schema Mode Inventory, and Parental Bonding Inventory. Results revealed that maladaptive schema modes were significantly associated with low parental care and with an earlier age of onset, longer duration, and higher number of methods of NSSI. Maladaptive schema modes also significantly mediated the relationship between parental care and age of onset of NSSI and between parental care and duration of NSSI. Two maladaptive schema modes (namely, Punitive Parent and Angry Child) were also found to be significant mediators in this relationship. The clinical implications of this research are discussed.
    Cognitive behaviour therapy 06/2013; 42(3). DOI:10.1080/16506073.2013.781671
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    • "The children were asked what they usually do when they are confronted with problems or when they are upset by using an 8 item-questionnaire, with ‘never’, ‘sometimes’ or ‘often’ as response alternatives. This questionnaire was previously used in the CASE-study (Child and Adolescent Self-harm in Europe) [42] and translated into Dutch and substantially pilot-tested for a population of Belgian adolescents [43]. Although no psychometric data on this coping questionnaire was available for our age group, other coping questionnaires have been used with children’s self-report [44] and acceptable repeatability was shown in 5 to 6-year old children with open-ended questions (r between 0.67 and 0.77) [38]. "
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    ABSTRACT: The last decades, the prevalence of childhood obesity has increased. Apart from other lifestyle factors, the effect of chronic psychosocial stress on the development of obesity has been recognized. However, more research is needed into the influence of chronic stress on appetite regulation, energy balance and body composition, as well as on the interaction with physical activity/sedentary behavior, diet and sleep in children. In this regard, the ChiBS study (Children’s Body composition and Stress) was designed at the Ghent University. Within this paper, we describe the aims, design, methods, participation and population characteristics of the ChiBS study. The influence of chronic stress on changes in body composition is investigated over a two-year follow-up period (February-June 2010, 2011 and 2012) in primary-school children between 6 and 12 years old in the city Aalter (Flanders, Belgium). Stress is measured by child- and parent-reported stress-questionnaires, as well as by objective stress biomarkers (serum, salivary and hair cortisol) and heart rate variability. Body composition is evaluated using basic anthropometric measurements and air displacement plethysmography. Additional information on socio-economic status, medical history, physical activity, dietary intake and sleep are obtained by questionnaires, and physical activity by accelerometers. The participation percentage was 68.7% (N = 523/761), with 71.3% of the children willing to participate in the first follow-up survey. Drop-out proportions were highest for serum sampling (12.1%), salivary sampling (8.3%) and heart rate variability measurements (7.4%). The ChiBS project is unique in its setting: its standardized and longitudinal approach provides valuable data and new insights into the relationship between stress and changes in body composition in a large cohort of young children. In addition, this study allows an in-depth investigation of the validity of the different methods that were used to assess stress levels in children.
    08/2012; 70(1):17. DOI:10.1186/0778-7367-70-17
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