Social support may prevent self-cutting in adolescence: A 5-year follow-up study

Marja-Liisa Rissanen, Virve Kekkonen, Eila Laukkanen, Jukka Hintikka, Tommi Tolmunen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Self-cutting is common among adolescents. However, studies examining protective factors are rare. It has been suggested that social support may protect against self-cutting in adolescence. The aim of this study was to investigate the possible association of social relationships with the initiation of self-cutting. Methods: The participants were community-dwelling Finnish adolescents (N = 4171) aged 13–18 years at baseline. The follow-up assessment was conducted 5 years later (N = 794). Those adolescents who had self-cut before the baseline assessment (N = 134) were excluded from the analysis, leaving a total of 660 participants to be analyzed. In this group, 37 adolescents initiated self-cutting during the 5-year follow-up period and 623 did not. Cox's proportional hazards models were used with several adjustments for possible confounding factors. Findings: A higher age, male gender, good relationships with siblings, weekly meetings with friends, and personal experience of not being lonely associated with the noninitiation of self-cutting during the follow-up period. Good relationships with parents or peers had no association with the initiation of self-cutting. Depressive symptoms mediated the effect of subjective loneliness on initiating self-cutting. Conclusions: Social support produced by friends may have a protective effect against self-cutting.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • adolescent
  • prospective study
  • protecting
  • self-cutting

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Pediatrics
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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