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Open AccessArticle

Adverse Childhood Experiences and Hospital-Treated Self-Harm

1
Suicidal Behaviour Research Laboratory, Institute of Health and Wellbeing, College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Gartnavel Royal Hospital, 1055 Great Western Road, Glasgow G12 0XH, UK
2
School of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of St Andrews, South St, St Andrews KY16 9JP, UK
3
Center for Contextual Psychiatry, Department of Neuroscience, KU Leuven, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
4
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Commonwealth House, 32 Albion Street, Glasgow G1 1LH, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(6), 1235; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15061235
Received: 22 April 2018 / Revised: 18 May 2018 / Accepted: 5 June 2018 / Published: 11 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Suicide Risk and Mental Disorders)
Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) have been implicated in a range of negative health outcomes in adulthood, including increased suicide mortality. In this study, we explored the relationship between ACEs and hospital-treated self-harm. Specifically, we investigated whether those who had a history of repeat self-harm reported more ACEs than those who had self-harmed for the first time. Patients (n = 189) admitted to two hospitals in Glasgow (UK) following first-time (n = 41) or repeated (n = 148) self-harm completed psychosocial measures. Univariate analyses revealed that those presenting with repeat self-harm reported higher depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms, intent to die, and ACEs, and lower dependent attachment style. However, only ACEs, along with female gender and depressive symptoms, significantly differentiated between the repeat self-harm group and the first-time self-harm group in the multivariate model. Controlling for all other psychosocial variables, participants who reported 4+ ACEs were significantly more likely to be in the repeat self-harm group as compared to those who experienced 0–3 ACEs. This finding highlights the pernicious effect of exposure to multiple ACEs. Further research is urgently required to better understand the mechanisms that explain this relationship. Clinicians should be aware of the extent of the association between ACEs and repeat self-harm. View Full-Text
Keywords: suicidal behaviour; self-harm; risk factors; adverse childhood experiences suicidal behaviour; self-harm; risk factors; adverse childhood experiences
MDPI and ACS Style

Cleare, S.; Wetherall, K.; Clark, A.; Ryan, C.; Kirtley, O.J.; Smith, M.; O’Connor, R.C. Adverse Childhood Experiences and Hospital-Treated Self-Harm. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 1235.

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