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Previous follow-up studies of repeated self-harm show that the cumulative risk of repeated self-harm within one year is 5.7%–15%, with females at greatest risk. However, relatively few studies have focused on the Far East. The objective of this study was to calculate the cumulative risk of repeated self-harm over different lengths of follow-up time (3months, 6months, and 1–8years), to determine factors influencing repeated self-harm and to explore the interaction between gender and self-harm methods.
We used self-harm patient who hospitalized due to first-time self-harm between 2000 and 2007 from 1,230 hospitals in Taiwan. Hospitalization for repeated self-harm among members of this cohort was tracked after 3months, 6months, and 1–8years. Tracking continued until December 31, 2008. We analyzed the cumulative risk and risk factors of repeated self-harm by using negative binomial regression.
Of the 39,875 individual study samples, 3,388 individuals (8.50%) were found to have repeatedly self-harmed. The cumulative risk of repeated self-harm within three months was 7.19% and within one year was 8%. Within 8years, it was 8.70%. Females were more likely to repeatedly self-harm than males (RR=1.21, 95% CI=1.15–1.76). The main method of self-harm was solid or liquid substances (RR=1.88, 95% CI=1.23–2.04) or cutting or piercing (RR=1.36, 95% CI=1.02–1.82), and in patients with psychiatric disorders were more likely to self-harm (RR=1.61, 95% CI=1.48–1.75).
The key time for intervention for repeated self-harm is within three months. Appropriate prevention programs should be developed based on gender differences.