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International Journal of Recent Trends in Science and Technology, ISSN 2277-2812 E-ISSN: 2249-8109

Volume 11, Issue 2, June 2014 pp 148-152

General Article

From stress to self harm: The adolescent-mechanics

A. Chakraborti1, P. Ray2, A. K. Bhattacharya3, A. K. Mallick4

1Resident, 2RMO cum Clinical Tutor, 3Associate Professor, 4Professor and Head, Department of Psychiatry, Burdwan Medical College Hospital, Burdwan, West Bengal, 713101 INDIA.

Academic Editor : Dr. Aher K.R.



Background: Deliberate Self Harm (DSH) in adolescents is common in psychiatric clinical practice and the incidence of suicide is found much higher in the group showing self harm behaviour. Theories to explain DSH like deranged emotional regulation under stress, lower parental relationship quality and negative emotional tone towards parents, lacks evidence in Indian context. Aims and Objectives: To study and explore the profile of adolescents attempting DSH; level of their perceived stress, emotional tone with parents and peers; and relationship between self harm, perceived stress and emotional tone. Method: In this cross sectional study adolescents attending psychiatry OPD with history of DSH within past one month were interviewed, screened for psychiatric morbidity and assessed using Self Harm Index (SHI), Emotional Tone Index (ETI), Perceived Stress Scale (PSS). Data were analyzed using SPSS. Result: Mean age of the participants (N=55) were 16.2 (±2.04) years. Majority were female (63.6%), unmarried (87.3%), from rural background (76.4%), and educated up to secondary level (78.2%). Consuming pesticide (85.5%) was the commonest mode of self harm, following an immediate stressful event which was conflict with a parent in 40% of cases. Depression was the commonest among psychiatric diagnoses (43.6%). Higher level of perceived stress and emotional tone for parents were found in females (p<0.05). SHI was significantly higher (p<0.05) in the non depressed diagnostic group with substance dependence, anxiety disorders and Borderline Personality. There was significant positive correlation between negative ETI (both parents and friends version) and PSS score (<0.05). Conclusion: This study identifies females and adolescents with depression as the vulnerable group for DSH. Poor ability to handle stress and lower parental relational quality in adolescents are associated with self harm behaviour.