Author(s): Rnk AR, Taanila A, Koiranen M, Sunnari V, Rautio A
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Deliberate self-harm (DSH) is an act with a non-fatal outcome in which an individual initiates a behavior, such as self-cutting or burning, with the intention of inflicting harm on his or her self. Interpersonal difficulties have been shown to be a risk factor for DSH, but the association between subjective experience of loneliness and DSH have rarely been examined. OBJECTIVE: To examine the frequency of DSH or its ideation and loneliness among 16-year-olds to determine if associations exist between DSH and loneliness, loneliness-related factors, self-rated health and satisfaction with life. DESIGN: The study population (n = 7,014) was taken from Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1986 (N = 9,432). Cross-tabulations were used to describe the frequency of DSH by factors selected by gender. Logistic regression analysis was used to describe the association between DSH and loneliness and other selected factors. RESULTS: Nearly 8.7\% (n = 608) of adolescents reported DSH often/sometimes during the preceding 6 months, with girls (n = 488, 13.4\%) reporting DSH almost 4 times than that of boys (n = 120, 3.6\%). Nearly 3.2\% of the adolescents (girls: n = 149, 4.1\%; boys: n = 72, 2.2\%) expressed that the statement I feel lonely was very/often true, and 26.4\% (girls: n = 1,265, 34.8\%; boys: n = 585, 17.4\%) expressed that the statement was somewhat/sometimes true. Logistic regression showed that those who reported to be very/often lonely (girls: odds ratio (OR) 4.1; boys: OR 3.2), somewhat/sometimes lonely (girls: OR 2.4; boys: OR 2.4) were dissatisfied with life (girls: OR 3.3; boys: OR 3.3), felt unliked (girls: OR 2.2; boys: OR 6.0) and had moderate self-rated health (girls: OR 2.0; boys: OR 1.7), were more likely to report DSH than those without these feelings. CONCLUSION: The results show that loneliness is associated with DSH, and that loneliness should be considered as a risk for individual health and well-being.
This article was published in Int J Circumpolar Health
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy