Digital Self-Harm Linked to Suicidal Thoughts, Suicide Attempts – Consumer Health News


WEDNESDAY, Aug. 31, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Adolescents engaging in digital self-harm, which is the anonymous online posting, sending, or sharing of hurtful content about oneself, are more likely to report suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts, according to a study published online July 10 in Child and Adolescent Mental Health.

Justin W. Patchin, Ph.D., from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and colleagues collected survey data from a national sample of 4,972 American middle and high school students in 2019 to assess whether lifetime engagement in two different indicators of digital self-harm was associated with suicidal thoughts and attempts within the past year.

The researchers found that engagement in digital self-harm was associated with a fivefold to sevenfold increase and with a ninefold to 15-fold increase in the likelihood of reporting suicidal thoughts and a suicide attempt, respectively.

“It is clear that those youth who participate in digital self-harm are much more likely to think about or attempt suicide when compared to peers who do not engage in digital self-harm,” a coauthor said in a statement. “When considering the marked rise in sadness and hopelessness among U.S. adolescents over the last 10 years, our findings serve as another indicator that reflects a worsening state of mental health among teens.”

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