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What are the risk factors for self-injury in adolescence?


Risk factors for self-injury in adolescence can include: childhood abuse, maltreatment, or trauma; parental separation or divorce; gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender sexual orientation or identity; bullying; exposure to family or peer self-injury; previous self-injury or suicide attempts; poor family or peer relationships; alcohol or drug abuse; psychiatric disorders, such as depression, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, eating disorders, or personality disorders; maladaptive or avoidant coping styles; impulsivity; low optimism or self-esteem; poor problem-solving; low distress tolerance; perfectionism; and poor school attendance or academic performance.


While these are important risk factors for self-injury in adolescence, there is no one single cause or reason why adolescents engage in self-injury. Adolescents who self-injure can appear to be functioning well both academically and socially, can come from caring family homes, and may not be suffering from any mental illness.

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