Pubertal stage and deliberate self-harm in adolescents

Patton, George C., Hemphill, Sheryl A., Beyers, Jennifer M., Catalano, Richard F., Bond, Lyndal, Toumbourou, John and McMorris, Barbara J. 2007, Pubertal stage and deliberate self-harm in adolescents, Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, vol. 46, no. 4, pp. 508-514.

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Title Pubertal stage and deliberate self-harm in adolescents
Author(s) Patton, George C.
Hemphill, Sheryl A.
Beyers, Jennifer M.
Catalano, Richard F.
Bond, Lyndal
Toumbourou, JohnORCID iD for Toumbourou, John
McMorris, Barbara J.
Journal name Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Volume number 46
Issue number 4
Start page 508
End page 514
Publisher Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Place of publication Baltimore, Md.
Publication date 2007-04
ISSN 0890-8567
Keyword(s) puberty
deliberate self-harm
suicidal behavior
Summary Objective: To ascertain the association between pubertal stage and deliberate self-harm.

Method: Cross-sectional survey of 12- to 15-year-olds in 300 secondary schools in the U.S. state of Washington in February-April 2002 and the Australian state of Victoria in June-August 2002. A total of 3,332 students in grades 7 and 9 provided complete data on episodes of deliberate self-harm in the previous 12 months and pubertal stage. Pubertal stage was assessed with the Pubertal Development Scale.

Results: The prevalence of deliberate self-harm was 3.7% with a more than twofold higher rate in females. Late puberty was associated with a more than fourfold higher rate of self-harm (odds ratio 4.6, 95% confidence interval 1.5-14) after adjustment for age and school grade level. In contrast age had a protective association (odds ratio 0.7, confidence interval 0.4-1.0). The sharpest rises in prevalence across puberty were for self-laceration and self-poisoning in females. Higher rates of depressive symptoms, frequent alcohol use, and initiation of sexual activity largely accounted for the association between self-harm and pubertal stage in multivariate models.

Conclusions: Puberty is associated with changes in the form and frequency of self-harm. For adolescents with a gap between puberty and brain development, risk factors such as early sexual activity and substance abuse may be particularly potent.

Language eng
Field of Research 170102 Developmental Psychology and Ageing
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2007, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
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Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Health
School of Psychology
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