The prevalence of self-cutting and other self-harm among 13- to 18-year-old Finnish adolescents

  • Eila Laukkanen
  • Marja-Liisa Rissanen
  • Kirsi Honkalampi
  • Jari Kylmä
  • Tommi Tolmunen
  • Jukka Hintikka



Deliberate self-harm has become more prevalent among adolescents.


To investigate the prevalence and the associated background factors of self-cutting and other self-harming behaviour.


The study sample included 4,205 adolescents aged 13–18 years. Background factors, social relationships, alcohol and substance abuse, self-harm and self-cutting were assessed by a structured questionnaire including the Youth Self Report and Beck Depression Inventory.


The life-time prevalence of self-cutting was 11.5% and of other self-harm 10.2%, while the prevalence of current self-cutting was 1.8%. Self-cutting was associated with female gender and a very wide range of adverse psychosocial background variables. Parents living together were an independent protective factor. By contrast, there was no gender difference in the risk of other self-harm. Independent risk factors were depressive mood, somatic complaints, drug abuse, poor school performance and poor family relationships. No protective factors were found for other self-harm.


During adolescence, self-cutting and other self-harm are common. Adolescents who have self-cutting or harm themselves have wide-ranging problems in their lives. The specific characteristics of these phenomena need further investigation.


self-cutting self-harm adolescents 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eila Laukkanen
    • 1
  • Marja-Liisa Rissanen
    • 2
  • Kirsi Honkalampi
    • 2
  • Jari Kylmä
    • 3
  • Tommi Tolmunen
    • 1
  • Jukka Hintikka
    • 4
  1. 1.Dept. of Adolescent PsychiatryUniversity Hospital of KuopioKuopioFinland
  2. 2.Dept. of PsychiatryKuopio University HospitalKuopioFinland
  3. 3.Dept. of Nursing ScienceUniversity of KuopioKuopioFinland
  4. 4.Dept. of PsychiatryUniversity of TampereTampereFinland

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