Phenotypic Characterization of Youth Admitted To Acute Psychiatric Inpatient Unit Following Self-Harm Behavior

Maya Schwartz-Lifshitz, David H. Ben-Dor, Yael Bustan, Gil Zalsman, Doron Gothelf, Abraham Weizman, Ran Barzilay*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Deliberate self-harm (DSH) is a major health concern among adolescents, and is often associated with the need for inpatient psychiatric hospitalization. The aim of this study was to identify clinical and demographic characteristics associated with DSH behavior among adolescents admitted to an acute psychiatric inpatient unit. Method: We retrospectively analyzed data from the electronic medical records of consecutive admittances to a single acute adolescent inpatient unit (n = 703, mean age 15.2). We compared inpatients with DSH to inpatients without DSH and further compared within the DSH group based on the presence of suicidal intent. Results: Compared to Non-DSH inpatients (n = 497), youths admitted following DSH (n = 206) were more likely to be female (OR = 2.6, 95%CI 1.7–4), currently in depressive exacerbation (OR = 2.4, 95%CI 1.6–3.6), with concurrent suicidal ideation (OR = 3.9, 95%CI 2.5–5.9), and history of alcohol use (OR = 5.6, 95%CI 3.2–9.5). Within DSH youths, no significant clinical differences were identified between those admitted following a suicide attempt (n = 102) compared to non-suicidal-self-injury (n = 104), who were generally younger. Conclusions: Findings suggest that early detection and intervention of DSH and depressive crisis is warranted, regardless of the self-harm subtype.HIGHLIGHTS Deliberate self-harm is common among adolescent psychiatric inpatients. Adolescent inpatients with deliberate self-harm are predominantly females with concurrent depression and suicidal ideation. We did not detect significant clinical and demographic differences between self-harmers with or without suicidal intent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1186-1197
Number of pages12
JournalArchives of Suicide Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 6 Jan 2021


FundersFunder number
National Institutes of Health
National Institute of Mental HealthK23MH120437


    • Adolescence psychiatry
    • deliberate self-harm
    • non-suicidal self-injury
    • suicide


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