Year: 2023 Source: Archives of Suicide Research. (2023). 27(3), 866-879. DOI: SIEC No: 20231671

We aimed to determine differences between adolescents with non-suicidal self-harm with and without a history of suicide attempt (SA). Sixty-eight adolescents with a mean age of 15.6 years (SD = 1.5) attending child and adolescent psychiatric outpatient clinics for repeated self-harm in Oslo, Norway, were included. A battery of instruments was used to assess sociodemographic information and psychopathology such as Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) diagnoses, emotional and behavioral problems, borderline symptoms, depression, hopelessness, suicidal ideation, and history of SA. Twenty-six participants (38.2%) reported a lifetime history of SA. Compared to the participants without a history of SA, those with an SA history had used a higher number of methods of self-harm and methods with higher lethality and had higher degrees of emotional and behavioral problems. They also scored higher in depressive symptoms, borderline pathology, emotional dysregulation, hopelessness, and suicidal ideation. History of SA was independently associated with perceived moderate to high risk of death on the most severe episode of self-harm (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 15.93; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.96-129.66), a longer duration (months) since self-harm debut (aOR, 1.07; 95% CI, 1.01-1.13), and suicidal ideation severity (aOR, 1.05; 95% CI, 1.01-1.11). Parental report of behavioral problems associated with SA suggested a strong association with externalizing problems. A combination of having a high level of psychopathology, externalizing problems, an extended history of self-harm behavior and use of more lethal self-harm methods seems to entail a significantly increased risk for making SAs among adolescents with non-suicidal self-harm.

HIGHLIGHTS: Non-suicidal self-harm (NSSH) with suicide attempt may be distinctive from NSSH without suicide attempt. Adolescents with NSSH with suicide attempt had relatively greater psychopathology. Protracted/lethal self-harm methods and externalizing problems indicate comorbidity.