alexa Non-suicidal Self-injury in the Over 40s: Results from a Large National Epidemiological Survey | OMICS International
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Research Article

Non-suicidal Self-injury in the Over 40s: Results from a Large National Epidemiological Survey

Graham Martin1* and Sarah Swannell2

1Department of Psychiatry, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

2Department of Psychiatry, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

Corresponding Author:
Graham Martin
Professor Mental Health Centre, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Herston, Brisbane, Queensland, 4006, Australia
Tel: +61 400080489
E-mail: [email protected]

Received Date: August 16, 2016; Accepted Date: September 20, 2016; Published Date: September 27, 2016

Citation: Martin G, Swannell S (2016) Non-suicidal Self-injury in the Over 40s: Results from a Large National Epidemiological Survey. Epidemiology (Sunnyvale) 6:266. doi: 10.4172/2161-1165.1000266

Copyright: © 2016 Martin G, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Abstract

Using data drawn from a national community study of Non-suicidal Self-injury (NSSI) in 12,006 Australians aged 10-100 years, we focused on 78 subjects aged ≥ 40 years (53 females, 25 males) reporting NSSI in the previous 12 months. Mean onset was 25.4 years (SD 14.66, range 5-60, mode 15 years), 60.3% beginning before 25 years. Seventeen people began self-injury after 40 (13 females (9.9%); 4 males (6%)). For the month prior, 19 older females claimed 1-50 episodes (mean 10.5), 9 males 1-28 episodes (mean 7.4). Compared to younger self-injurers, older self-injurers more likely had a psychiatric diagnosis (OR21.22, 95% CI [3.90, 115.52]), higher psychological distress (OR9.41, CI [1.73, 51.24]), and lifetime suicide attempts (38.2% to 28.0%, NS). However, younger self-injurers were more likely to report feeling suicidal in the previous four weeks (OR3.16, 95% CI [1.18,8.45]) with 80.0% (versus 55.8% of ≥ 40 years) scoring high on a brief suicidal ideation scale. Most common motivation for NSSI was ‘emotion regulation’, with self-injurers ≥ 40 years (68.6%) more likely to endorse this than <25 years (54.5%) (NS). Compared to those ceased for over two years, current older self-injurers reported higher psychological distress (OR2.39, 95% CI [1.06, 5.40]) and self-blame (OR3.79, CI [1.75, 8.21]). Respondents ≥ 40 years with no NSSI for two years (n=239) reported they had ‘grown up’ or ‘gotten over it’ (33.9%), ‘talked to a mental health professional’ (26.8%), ‘learned better ways to cope with stress’ (25.5%) and ‘received support from other people’ (25.1%). Only 25.7% asked for professional help. Barriers to help-seeking were ‘feeling as if their NSSI problem was not severe enough’ (29.7%), ‘feeling ashamed or embarrassed’ (24.3%), ‘feeling no-one would be able to help’ (21.6%) and ‘not wanting or needing help’ (21.6%). It appears NSSI in the over 40s reflects a hidden and very troubled group. The potential seriousness of self-injury in this group has implications for families, general practitioners, mental health clinicians, emergency departments, and community services.

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