Abstract

Self-harm, comprising non-suicidal self-injury, and suicide attempts, is a serious and potentially life-threatening behavior that has been associated with poor life quality and an increased risk of suicide. In forensic populations, increased rates of self-harm have been reported, and suicide is one of the leading causes of death. Aside from associations between self-harm and mental disorders, knowledge on self-harm in forensic psychiatric populations is limited. The purpose of this study was to characterize the clinical needs of a cohort of forensic psychiatric patients, including self-harm and possible risk factors thereof. Participants (N = 98) were consecutively recruited from a cohort of forensic psychiatric patients in Sweden from 2016 to 2020. Data were collected through file information, self-reports, and complemented with semi-structured interviews. Results showed that self-harm was common among the participants, more than half (68.4%) of whom had at some point engaged in self-harm. The most common methods of non-suicidal self-injury were banging one's head or fist against a wall or other solid surface and cutting, and the most common method of suicide attempt was hanging. The most prominent functions of non-suicidal self-injury among the participants were intrapersonal functions such as affect regulation, self-punishment, and marking distress. Self-harm in general was associated to neurodevelopmental disorders (p = 0.014, CI = 1.23–8.02, OR = 3.14) and disruptive impulse-control and conduct disorders (p = 0.012, CI = 1.19–74.6, OR = 9.41), with reservation to very wide confidence intervals. Conclusions drawn from this study are that self-harm was highly prevalent in this sample and seems to have similar function in this group of individuals as in other studied clinical and non-clinical groups.

Original languageEnglish
Article number698372
JournalFrontiers in Psychiatry
Volume12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Aug 2

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Psychiatry

Keywords

  • forensic psychiatric patients
  • ISAS scale
  • non-suicidal self-injury
  • psychiatric disorders
  • self-harm
  • suicide attempt

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