The British Journal of Psychiatry
Non-fatal repetition of self-harm in Taipei City, Taiwan: cohort study
Chi-Leung Kwok, Paul S. F. Yip, David Gunnell, Chian-Jue Kuo, Ying-Yeh Chen
  • Declaration of interest

    None.

Abstract

Background

Repeat self-harm is an important risk factor for suicide. Few studies have explored risk factors for non-fatal repeat self-harm in Asia.

Aims

To investigate the risk of non-fatal repeat self-harm in a large cohort of patients presenting to hospital in Taipei City, Taiwan.

Method

Prospective cohort study of 7601 patients with self-harm presenting to emergency departments (January 2004-December 2006). Survival analysis was used to examine the rates, timing and factors associated with repeat self-harm.

Results

In total 778 (10.2%) patients presented to hospital with one or more further episodes of self-harm. The cumulative risk of non-fatal repetition within 1 year of a self-harm episode was 9.3% (95% CI 8.7-10.1). The median time to repetition within 1 year was 105 days. Females had a higher incidence of repeat self-harm than males (adjusted hazard ratio 1.25, 95% CI 1.05-1.48) but males had shorter median time to repetition (107 v. 80 days). Other independent risk factors for repeat self-harm within 1 year of an index episode were: young age, self-harm by medicine overdose and increasing number of repeat episodes of self-harm.

Conclusions

The risk of non-fatal repeat self-harm in Taipei City is lower than that seen in the West. Risk factors for repeat non-fatal self-harm differ from those for fatal self-harm. The first 3 months after self-harm is a crucial period for intervention.

Footnotes

  • Funding

    The study was supported by Department of Health, Taipei City Government. The funding agency has no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis and interpretation of the data; and preparation, review or approval of the manuscript. Y-Y.C. was supported by the National Science Council, Taiwan (grant number 101-2314-B-532-005-MY2) and the National Health Research Institute, Taiwan (grant number NHRI-EX100-10024PC). C-L.K. and P.S.F.Y. were supported by a GRF grant of Research Grant Council (HKU-784210).

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