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Non-Suicidal Self-Injury in UK Prisoners [2017]

Morbidity related to non-suicidal self-injury is highly prevalent in prisoners. Women carry the largest burden yet gender-specific characteristics are not fully understood. A national prisoner survey in England and Wales was examined for risk factors and correlates associated with non-suicidal self-injury during current prison term and gender among prisoners generally, and females more specifically. The large, representative survey produced a stratified sample of 3142 prisoners (1121 male sentenced prisoners, 1250 male remand prisoners and 771 female prisoners). Prevalence of non-suicidal self-injury was 6.6% (5.7% among males and 9.6% among females). Female gender conferred a significantly higher risk (OR 1.77, 95% CI 1.32 – 2.38, p < 0.001). The most prominent variables that appeared important in the relationship between female gender and non-suicidal self-injury were: past sexual abuse, previous suicide attempt, mental health problems in prison, current medication use, unwanted sexual attention in prison and presence of anxiety disorder.

Bernice Knight, Jeremy Coid & Simone Ullrich

International Journal of Forensic Mental Health, Volume 16, 2017 – Issue 2

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