Identifying risk of deliberate self-harm through longitudinal monitoring of psychological distress in an inpatient psychiatric population

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Abstract

© Kashyap et al.; licensee BioMed Central. Background: While cross-sectional correlates of deliberate self-harm, such as psychological distress, have been identified; it is still difficult to predict which individuals experiencing distress will engage in deliberate self-harm, and when this may occur. Therefore, this study aimed to explore the ability of longitudinal measurements of psychological distress to predict deliberate self-harm in a psychiatric population. Method: Participants (N = 933; age range 14-93 (M = 38.95, SD = 14.64; 70% female) were monitored daily in terms of suicidal ideation, depression, anxiety, worthlessness and perceptions of not coping. Latent Growth Curve Analysis was used to check if groups of inpatients reporting suicidal ideation, who shared early change in measures of psychological distress, existed. Logistic regression tested whether different groups were at higher (or lower) risks of deliberate self-harm. Results: Four groups were found. Of these, Non-Responders (high symptoms, remaining high) were more likely to engage in deliberate self-harm than patients with high, medium and low symptoms which improved over one week. Group membership was a greater predictor of deliberate self-harm than initial distress scores. Females and patients with personality disorders were significantly more likely to be Non-Responders. Conclusions: Continuous monitoring and subsequent grouping of inpatients according to their early change in psychological distress provides a novel and practical approach to risk management. A lack of early improvement in psychological distress may indicate a higher risk of deliberate self-harm.
Original languageEnglish
Article number81
Number of pages11
JournalBMC Psychiatry
Volume15
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Apr 2015

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