Deliberate Self Harm in Children and Adolescents


This study compared children and adolescents who had deliberately selfharmed (DSH) with those who had not using data routinely collected during assessment at a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS). The DSH group consisted of 64 boys and 194 girls aged between 7 to 18 years. The control group consisted of 175 boys and 181 girls aged between 11 and 18. As in previous studies, there was a substantially higher proportion of girls who self-harmed or who had depressive symptoms when compared to boys. The study investigated the effectiveness of HoNOSCA as an assessment tool for DSH and compared it with other measures of seriousness of self-harm (BDI, PATHOS, clinician-based risk rating or previous episodes of self-harm). Comparisons of HoNOSCA-rated ‘self injury’ with other assessment tools showed advantages of the latter in detecting individuals at risk. The study also investigated whether DSH was linked to changes in family living and explored trigger or risk factors. The HoNOSCA item ‘Problems with family life and relationships’ was linked to self-harm as expected. However, there were no substantial differences between the groups for measures of family living. Analyses of risk factors showed background issues concerning breakdown of relationships and self esteem were relevant to DSH.

How to Cite

McCarthy-Hoffbauer I. & Leach C. & McKenzie I., (2006) “Deliberate Self Harm in Children and Adolescents”, Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Research and Practice 3(2). doi:








Iris McCarthy-Hoffbauer
Chris Leach

Immanuel McKenzie





Peer Review

This article has been peer reviewed.

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