Self-harm risk is higher in early pubescents

20 November 2020

Those who experience puberty earlier than their peers have a higher risk of self-harm in adolescence, reveals research published in Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences.

Until now, this higher risk of self-harm in boys has been less clearly understood than in girls.

The study is the first to use an objective measure for the start of puberty based on height measurements taken in clinics.

Researchers found that earlier onset of puberty in boys and girls is associated with a higher risk of self-harm at 16. This increased risk may continue into early adulthood for girls.

Lead author Elystan Roberts said: ‘Our results will be important for helping to reduce self-harm risk in 
boys as well as girls.’