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J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2001 Nov;40(11):1246-53.

Randomized trial of group therapy for repeated deliberate self-harm in adolescents.

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Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Withington Hospital, South Manchester, England.



To compare group therapy with routine care in adolescents who had deliberately harmed themselves on at least two occasions within a year.


Single-blind pilot study with two randomized parallel groups that took place in Manchester, England. Sixty-three adolescents aged 12 through 16 years were randomly assigned to group therapy and routine care or routine care alone. Outcome data on suicide attempts were obtained without knowledge of treatment allocation on all randomized cases (62/63 by direct interview) on average 29 weeks later. The primary outcomes were depression and suicidal behavior.


In intention-to-treat analyses, adolescents who had group therapy were less likely to be "repeaters" at the end of the study (i.e., to have repeated deliberate self-harm on two or more further occasions) than adolescents who had routine care (2/32 versus 10/31; odds ratio 6.3), but the confidence intervals for this ratio were wide (95% confidence interval 1.4 to 28.7). They were also less likely to use routine care, had better school attendance, and had a lower rate of behavioral disorder than adolescents given routine care alone. The interventions did not differ, however, in their effects on depression or global outcome.


Group therapy shows promise as a treatment for adolescents who repeatedly harm themselves, but larger studies are required to assess more accurately the efficacy of this intervention.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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