Self Injury contagious among teenagers; Study

A healthy lifestyle involving moderate alcohol consumption, a healthy diet, regular physical activity, healthy sleep and frequent social connection, while avoiding smoking and too much sedentary behaviour, reduces the risk of depression, new research has found.

A group of researchers have notified that self Injury may be contagious among teenagers who are more likely to harm themselves when they come across another who have done so. The study has come up in Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica journal.

The researchers analysed 2014 data from over 1,400 teenagers in Ontario between 14 and 17 years of age. In the study, they had given a questionnaire asking them questions like ‘has a friend of yours ever hurt themselves without the intention to die?’. They also got positive response two to three times as likely to answer ‘Yes’ to the question of whether they have thought about, or done, the same.

They said that the results are of grave concern at the time of Covid 19 pandemic when people are so much stressed. Author of the study Dr Ian Colman (University of Ottawa, Canada) said that non-suicidal self-injury was much more common than suicide attempts. It was seen twice as common in the study, he added.

The study is based on previous studies that showed teens who were exposed to suicide among their peers are more than twice as likely to demonstrate suicidal behaviour as those who are not exposed. The study also pointed out that this sort of ideation and behaviour was a form of contagion. The study said that the contagion spread could be tracked by epidemiologists just as physically communicable diseases are traced.


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