Dissociation, self-cutting, and other self-harm behavior in a general population of Finnish adolescents

J Nerv Ment Dis. 2008 Oct;196(10):768-71. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e3181879e11.


A few studies on adult clinical samples have demonstrated that dissociation predicts self-harm behavior without intent to die. Furthermore, a similar association has been found from selected adolescent populations. However, no studies have been published on the association between dissociation and self-harm behavior in general populations of either adults or adolescents. We investigated whether a high level of dissociation predicts self-cutting or other self-harm behavior in a Finnish general population sample of 4019 adolescents aged between 13 and 18 years. Those with a high level of dissociation measured with the Adolescent Dissociative Experiences Scale had a higher risk of current self-cutting and other self-harm behavior, even when adjusted for several possible confounding factors. Self-cutting adolescents had higher Adolescent Dissociative Experiences Scale scores than those displaying other kinds of self-harm behavior. These results indicate that a high level of dissociation is an independent risk factor for self-harm behavior in adolescents, and may have value both in clinical work and further research.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Dissociative Disorders / complications
  • Dissociative Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Dissociative Disorders / psychology*
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects
  • Population*
  • Self Mutilation / complications
  • Self Mutilation / epidemiology*
  • Self Mutilation / psychology*
  • Self-Injurious Behavior / complications
  • Self-Injurious Behavior / epidemiology
  • Self-Injurious Behavior / psychology
  • Students / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires