The online version of this article (https://doi.org/10.1186/s12888-018-1607-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Self-harm (SH) is an emerging problem among Chinese adolescents. The present study aimed to measure the prevalence of SH behaviours and to explore the relationship between childhood adversity and different SH subtypes among Chinese adolescents.
A total of 5726 middle school students were randomly selected in three cities of Anhui province, China, using a stratified cluster sampling method. SH was categorized into five subtypes (highly lethal self-harm, less lethal self-harm with visible tissue damage, self-harm without visible tissue damage, self-harmful behaviours with latency damage and psychological self-harm). Multivariate logistic regression was used to explore the relationships between childhood adversity and different subtypes of adolescent SH.
The prevalence rates of highly lethal self-harm, less lethal self-harm with visible tissue damage, self-harm without visible tissue damage, self-harmful behaviours with latency damage and psychological self-harm were 6.1, 20.4, 32.0, 20.0 and 23.0%, respectively. Childhood sexual abuse and physical peer victimization were associated with each SH subtype with adjusted odds ratios (AORs) ranging from 1.23 to 1.76. Highly lethal self-harm was associated with childhood physical peer victimization, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and emotional neglect. The less lethal SH subtypes (i.e., less lethal self-harm with visible tissue damage, self-harm without visible tissue damage, self-harmful behaviours with latency damage and psychological self-harm) were associated with childhood peer victimization, family life stress event scores and childhood sexual abuse.
A high prevalence of SH exists among Chinese adolescents. The association of childhood adversity with SH merits serious attention in both future research and preventive interventions.
Additional file 1: Table S1. Frequency of overlap between different types of self-harm. (DOC 31 kb)12888_2018_1607_MOESM1_ESM.doc
Additional file 2: Table S2. Prevalence of involved in different numbers of self-harm by sample characteristics (N = 5726). (DOC 106 kb)12888_2018_1607_MOESM2_ESM.doc
Additional file 3: Table S3. Multivariable logistic regression analysis showing the AOR (95% CI) between childhood adversity and five subtypes of self-harm (N = 5726). Results of multivariate logistic regression analysis to confirm the relationships between childhood adversity and each SH subtype, with adjustments for all sociodemographic variables and depression. (DOC 57 kb)12888_2018_1607_MOESM3_ESM.doc
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