Year: 2019 Source: American Journal of Public Health. (2018). 108(8), 1042-1048. DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2018.304470 SIEC No: 20190104

Objectives. To provide prevalence estimates of adolescent nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) based on large, representative, nonclinical samples of high-school students, and to explore gender differences in health risks associated with NSSI.

Methods. We used 2015 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System data to estimate the prevalence of self-injury and variables potentially associated with self-injury for high-school–age boys (n = 32 150) and girls (n = 32 521) in 11 US states. We used logistic regression analysis to consider associations between NSSI and other health risks.

Results. Rates of boys reporting purposefully hurting themselves without wanting to die over the past 12 months ranged from 6.4% (Delaware) to 14.8% (Nevada). Rates for girls varied from 17.7% (Delaware) to 30.8% (Idaho). Rates declined with age and varied by race and ethnicity. Depression; suicidal thoughts, plans, and attempts; sexual minority status; being electronically bullied; smoking; and substance use were associated with NSSI. There were minor differences in associations between NSSI and health risk variables by gender.

Conclusions. Nonclinical populations of adolescents are at high risk for self-injury. Nonsuicidal self-injury was higher among girls than among boys, but patterns of association with other health risks were similar.