Self-mutilation in clinical and general population samples: prevalence, correlates, and functions

Am J Orthopsychiatry. 1998 Oct;68(4):609-20. doi: 10.1037/h0080369.


Self-mutilation, examined in samples of the general population, clinical groups, and self-identified self-mutilators, was reported by 4% of the general and 21% of the clinical sample, and was equally prevalent among males and females. Results suggest that such behavior is used to decrease dissociation, emotional distress, and posttraumatic symptoms. Childhood sexual abuse was associated with self-mutilation in both clinical and nonclinical samples.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Mutilation / epidemiology*
  • Self Mutilation / etiology
  • Self Mutilation / psychology
  • Stress, Psychological