Most self-harming teens grow out of it

Researchers from the Centre for Adolescent Health in Melbourne surveyed nearly 2000 students across Victoria in nine waves between the ages of 15 and 29 years, with around half providing data throughout the study.

In one of the few population-based studies to track the natural history of self-harm behaviour, the researchers showed that adolescent self-harm reduced substantially as teens grew older, with only 3% of participants reporting
it in adulthood.

“Injury to the skin through cutting and burning was the commonest method of self-harm during adolescence although by young adulthood no one form of self-harm predominated,” the authors wrote.

Girls were more likely than boys to continue the behaviour as they grew older.

The researchers found that a mixed depression-anxiety state during adolescence was associated with increased likelihood of self-harm, and conferred a nearly six-fold increased risk of it continuing