Social psychiatry

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 175–179 | Cite as

Deliberate self-poisoning and self-injury in the Oxford area: 1972–1980

  • Keith Hawton
  • Joan Fagg
  • Pamela Marsack
  • Pat Wells


Trends in deliberate self-poisoning and self-injury in the Oxford area have been monitored between 1972 and 1980 by examination of data on all referrals to the general hospital in Oxford. The incidence of self-poisoning and self-injury in Oxford City increased between 1972 and 1978, although far more slowly than in previous years, and then flattened out in the late 1970's. The highest incidence for females during the period under review was found in age group 15–24 years and for males in age group 25–34 years. The numbers of young adolescents being referred have increased recently. Overall annual rates of repetition remained very stable until 1978 but showed a decline in 1979. Self-poisoning with non-opiate analgesics became more common during the study period; this was entirely due to the increased use of paracetamol. There was a small decline in the use of minor tranquillisers and sedatives in self-poisoning during the last 2 years of the study. The use of alcohol in association with attempts was more common among males than females. Similarly, higher rates of alcoholism, drug addiction and epilepsy were found in male subjects.


Public Health Alcohol General Hospital Paracetamol Male Subject 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Aitken RCB, Buglass D, Kreitman N (1969) The changing pattern of attempted suicide in Edinburgh, 1962–67. Br J Prev Soc Med 23:111–115Google Scholar
  2. Alderson MR (1974) Self-poisoning — What is the future? Lancet I:1040–1043Google Scholar
  3. Bancroft JHJ, Skrimshire AM, Reynolds F, Simkin S, Smith J (1975) Self-poisoning and self-injury in the Oxford area: epidemiological aspects 1969–73. Br J Prev Soc Med 29:170–177Google Scholar
  4. Chowdhury N, Hicks RC, Kreitman N (1973) Evaluation of an after-care service for parasuicide (attempted suicide) patients. Soc Psychiatry 8:67–81Google Scholar
  5. Gibbons JS, Butler J, Urwin P, Gibbons JL (1978a) Evaluation of a social work service for self-poisoning patients. Br J Psychiatry 133:111–118Google Scholar
  6. Gibbons JS, Elliott J, Urwin P, Gibbons JL (1978b) The urban environment and deliberate self-poisoning: Trends in Southampton 1972–1977. Soc Psychiatry 13:159–166Google Scholar
  7. Hawton K, Bancroft J, Catalan J, Kingston B, Stedeford A, Welch N (1981) Domiciliary and out-patient treatment of self-poisoning patients by medical and non-medical staff. Psychol Med 11:169–177Google Scholar
  8. Hawton K, Fagg J, Marsack P (1980) Association between epilepsy and attempted suicide. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 43: 168–170Google Scholar
  9. Hawton K, Gath D, Smith E (1979) Management of attempted suicide in Oxford. Br Med J 2:1040–1042Google Scholar
  10. Hawton K, Goldacre M (1982) Hospital admissions for adverse effects of medicinal agents (mainly self-poisoning) among adolescents in the Oxford Region (submitted for publication)Google Scholar
  11. Holding TA, Buglass D, Duffy JC, Kreitman N (1977) Parasuicide in Edinburgh — A 7-year review 1968–74. Br J Psychiatry 130: 534–543Google Scholar
  12. Lawson AAH, McCallum CJ (1979) Trends in acute poisoning in a district medical unit. Health Bull 37:121–127Google Scholar
  13. Mackay A (1979) Self-poisoning — A complication of epilepsy. Br J Psychiatry 134:277–282Google Scholar
  14. Morgan HG, Burns-Cox CJ, Pocock H, Pottle S (1975a) Deliberate self-harm: clinical and socio-economic characteristics of 368 patients. Br J Psychiatry 127:564–574Google Scholar
  15. Morgan HG, Pocock H, Pottle S (1975b) The urban distribution of non-fatal deliberate self-harm. Br J Psychiatry 126:319–328Google Scholar
  16. Office of Health Economics (1981) Suicide and deliberate self-harm.Google Scholar
  17. Smith JS, Davison K (1971) Changes in the pattern of admission for attempted suicide in Newcastle-upon-Tyne during the 1960's. Br Med J 4:412–415Google Scholar
  18. Weissman MM (1974) The epidemiology of suicide attempts, 1960 to 1971. Arch Gen Psychiatry 32:357–365Google Scholar
  19. Wexler L, Weissman MM, Kasl SV (1978) Suicide attempts 1970–75: updating a United States study and comparison with international trends. Br J Psychiatry 132: 180–185Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Keith Hawton
    • 1
  • Joan Fagg
    • 1
  • Pamela Marsack
    • 1
  • Pat Wells
    • 1
  1. 1.University Department of PsychiatryWarneford HospitalOxfordEngland

Personalised recommendations