The British Journal of Psychiatry
Children who poison themselves. I. A clinical comparison with psychiatric controls.
E A Taylor, S A Stansfeld


Fifty schoolchildren, admitted as medical emergencies after poisoning themselves, were compared with 50 matched controls, resident in the same area of London, referred for psychiatric help for other reasons. The dependent measures were based upon systematically recorded clinical information in both groups. The self-poisoners showed more psychiatric symptoms and more disturbed family relationships than did the psychiatric group; they were more likely to meet criteria for depressive disorder and to come from families showing little warmth. This form of self-injury is not trivial or wholly culturally determined, and it warrants psychiatric intervention.