Adolescents are vulnerable to various life stresses and often adapt to negative coping mechanisms in the form of self-harm.
We designed a study to assesses the comparative prevalence, social determinants and risk of self-harm among cohorts of adolescent school children. We investigated the impact of a health education intervention on the knowledge of prevention of self-harm among public and independent/private school adolescents in New Delhi, India.
Method: Questionnaire data was collected for phase - I from (n = 100 each) adolescents of government and private schools, to determine risk and prevalence. Phase II data was acquired following the provision of an education booklet on prevention of self-harm from adolescents (government n=39 and private schools n=40) reporting moderate risk.
Results: The prevalence of self-harm was 40% among government and 38% among private school adolescents. There were 4% of adolescents in private and 1% in government schools who demonstrated moderate to high risk of self-harm. There was a significant association between self-harm and risk factors including impulsiveness, interpersonal relationships, academic, peer influence, abuse and media influence. Health Education was effective in increasing the knowledge of both cohorts on self-harm behaviour, and its prevention.
Conclusion: Our study demonstrates the benefit of health education intervention regarding awareness of self-harm behaviour.
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