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Repeat deliberate self-harm: a link with childhood sexual abuse?

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  • Research Article
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  • Economics
  • Education
  • Medicine

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to identify whether a past history of childhood sexual abuse is a risk factor for repeated Deliberate Self-Harm (DSH). The study was a 6-month prospective study of 178 patients responsible for 190 consecutive cases of DSH seen during a 3-month censoring period. Patients were identified by review of the in-patient and accident and emergency (A&E) records of all cases of DSH at the A&E department of a major teaching hospital. Patients with a history of childhood sexual abuse showed a marked clustering of four major risk factors for repeat DSH (unemployment, past deliberate self-poisoning, self-injury and psychiatric illness) and were significantly more likely to repeat DSH within the 6-month follow-up period.

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