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J Adolesc Health. 2009 May;44(5):464-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2008.10.003. Epub 2009 Jan 9.

Mental disorders in self-cutting adolescents.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Paijat-Hame Central Hospital, Lahti, Finland.



Self-cutting as a form of self-harm is common in general population adolescents. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of mental disorders and associated factors among self-cutting community-dwelling adolescents.


A sample of adolescents who reported current self-cutting (n = 80) was drawn from a large sample of community adolescents (n = 4205). Of these 80 individuals, 44 consented to further detailed assessment. An age- and gender-matched control subject was selected for each study subject. Data collection included Structured Clinical Interviews for DSM-IV-TR, the Beck Depression Inventory, the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), and the Youth Self-Report for adolescents aged 11-18 years (YSR).


Major depressive disorder (63% vs. 5%), anxiety disorders (37% vs. 12%), and eating disorders (15% vs. 0%) were more common among self-cutting girls (n = 41) than among controls. None of the self-cutting boys (n = 3) had a DSM-IV-TR Axis I mental disorder. In multivariate model, the presence of major depressive disorder, the AUDIT score and the YSR internalizing subscale score were the factors that were independently associated with the presence of self-cutting in girls.


Major depressive disorder, signs of alcohol misuse, and internalizing behavior strongly associate with self-cutting in community-dwelling adolescents, especially in girls.

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