Adolescent self-injurious ideas and behaviours


Self-injurious ideas and behaviours (SITAB), referring to self-harm, suicide ideation, and suicide makes an attempt, are a critical public well being concern. These behaviours are sometimes interconnected, co-occur, and are a specific subject amongst younger individuals, with research estimating that round 17% of adolescents have engaged in self-harm at the least as soon as (Gillies et al., 2018).

Social relationships play a key function in influencing well being and behavior, together with SITAB. Friends have a substantial affect on varied health-related behaviours amongst adolescents, corresponding to drug use, sexual behaviours, risk-taking, and, notably, self-harm and suicidal tendencies. Analysis has proven that peer networks inside colleges are associated to psychological well being, and that behaviours can unfold via a friendship community by way of socialisation (Jarvi et al., 2013; Mars et al., 2019; Montgomery et al., 2020; Syed et al., 2020); concurrently, the college atmosphere and friendships also can work as protecting components.

Sociometric information, which map out friendship networks, are essential in understanding these processes, and require particular community fashions to check them successfully (Corridor & Melia, 2022; Snijders et al., 2010). Whereas there may be some assist from earlier systematic opinions on the affect of peer networks on health-related behaviours, there’s a lack of analysis particularly inspecting SITAB on this space (Jarvi et al., 2013). Crudginton and colleagues (2023) tried to deal with this by conducting a scientific evaluation centered on the analysis query: “What are the findings of research which have used sociometric social community evaluation strategies to research the affiliation between self-injurious ideas and behaviours and peer friendship networks in adolescence in a school-based setting?”.

Friendships play a crucial role in influencing adolescent health-related behaviours, including self-injurious thoughts and behaviours. What can social network analyses of school friendships tell us about this association?

Friendships play an important function in influencing adolescent health-related behaviours, together with self-injurious ideas and behaviours. What can social community analyses of faculty friendships inform us about this affiliation?


A scientific literature search was carried out between July 2021 and Could 2022, utilizing 5 databases, to establish sociometric research investigating peer friendship networks in adolescence (ages 11-18 years).

The eligibility standards have been utilized to every research recognized via the literature search, with a excessive degree of settlement (>90%) between researchers. Knowledge extraction concerned assessing every research for danger of bias, utilizing two instruments (Knox et al. 2019; Sabot et al. 2017) which have been employed in earlier social community evaluation opinions. Threat of bias was deemed comparatively low.

Proof was then synthesised primarily based on the kind of community metric used, which have been divided into two teams:

  1. Peer-network construction (which could possibly be particular person, proximal to friends, or network-wide)
  2. Publicity to associates’ SITAB (self-injurious ideas and behaviours)


Fifteen eligible research have been recognized. Members have been aged 11-19 years. Eleven research had a mixture of ethnicities, with predominantly White members (starting from 45 to 86%). Three research had Chinese language members solely, and one research had an all-female Latina inhabitants. Aside from the latter, feminine populations ranged from 46% to 56% throughout the research. Pattern sizes ranged from 348 to 13,482 college students.

13 of the research have been longitudinal and a couple of have been cross-sectional. Of the 15 research:

  • 6 measured self-harm
  • 8 measured suicidal ideation
  • 8 measured suicide makes an attempt

Research that measured peer-network construction (e.g., reputation, isolation, density) discovered that the construction of how younger individuals are linked to their associates performs a major function in SITAB (self-injurious ideas and behaviours):

  • Increased betweenness (bringing others into the friendship group) was positively related to self-harm
  • Combined findings for reputation (what number of friendship nominations somebody receives), with one research discovering a adverse affiliation with suicidal ideation and makes an attempt
  • Increased sociality (what number of friendship nominations somebody sends) was negatively related to SITAB
  • Combined findings for isolation (somebody who neither sends nor receives friendship nominations), with two out of the three associated research discovering a optimistic affiliation with SITAB
  • Belonging to intransive friendship teams (the place associates are usually not associates with one another) was related to a higher danger of SITAB
  • Coreness (dimension of friendship group primarily based on personal and fast friendship nominations) was negatively related to suicidal makes an attempt and ideation
  • Combined findings for reciprocity (having associates who do/not self-harm), with one among three research discovering an affiliation
  • Being a part of a denser friendship group (variety of connections inside an adolescent’s fast good friend group) was related to decrease charges of SITAB; this may increasingly act as a protecting issue by buffering in opposition to psychological misery and offering assist.

Research that investigated publicity to associates’ SITAB (e.g., socialisation, reciprocal friendships) discovered that college peer friendship teams can have each optimistic and adverse associations with SITAB:

  • Having associates who interact in self-harm was discovered to be positively related to self-harm amongst adolescents
  • Just one research within the evaluation used the very best apply of the stochastic actor-oriented mannequin (SAOM) community mannequin, which separates socialisation and choice processes. This research discovered proof for oblique socialisation (a behaviour influenced by a associated behaviour) of self-harm via a good friend’s melancholy signs
  • The findings concerning ideation and suicide makes an attempt have been blended, with three out of 5 research exhibiting a optimistic affiliation.
Findings from Crudgington et al.’s (2023) systematic review suggest that factors such as isolation and having friends who self-harm are positively related with self-injurious thoughts and behaviours.

This evaluation means that components corresponding to isolation and having associates who self-harm are positively associated with self-injurious ideas and behaviours.


By conducting a scientific evaluation of sociometric research, the authors concluded that:

in-school peer-friendship networks are related to self-injurious ideas and behaviors throughout the developmental interval of adolescence.

Nevertheless, there’s a caveat in that these friendships will be optimistic in addition to adverse, with some metrics demonstrating adverse associations.

Overall, peers do seem to have an impact on self-injurious thoughts and behaviours across adolescent development, spanning from early to late adolescence.

General, friends do appear to have an affect on self-injurious ideas and behaviours throughout adolescent growth, spanning from early to late adolescence.

Strengths and limitations


This systematic evaluation centered on complete community information, which exhibits the relationships between completely different members of an outlined group (e.g., a college or 12 months group). This permits the place of particular person members in a community to obviously be seen, in addition to their connections to others in that community, which boosts our understanding of community dynamics and their affiliation with SITAB.

The researchers additionally assessed every research for its danger of bias, which was deemed comparatively low, subsequently rising the boldness of the findings. As there may be not a regular instrument for measuring bias inside community research, the authors used two instruments from earlier comparable research; this was novel, but in addition highlighted the necessity for such a instrument to be developed.

The researchers additional exhibited finest apply by reaching a excessive degree of settlement throughout screening, and adhering to thorough, pre-defined eligibility standards. The research was registered on PROSPERO, and each the search standards and PRISMA guidelines have been uploaded for transparency.


  • Eight research relied on information from the identical supply (Add Well being), and two research used information from the identical college, leading to a restricted variety of unbiased research throughout two international locations. This restricts the generalisability of findings and suggests a context-specific focus.
  • Variations in end result measures throughout research restrict the power to attract definitive conclusions concerning networks and particular SITAB. Analytical approaches, measurement of variables, and covariates additionally differed, making comparisons throughout research difficult; the completely different operationalisation of community metrics might affect the consistency and comparability of findings.
  • You will need to acknowledge that related research might have been missed within the search, as community processes weren’t constantly described. Additionally, solely peer-reviewed papers have been included.
  • Attrition could possibly be a priority, as younger individuals at larger danger of SITAB could also be much less prone to attend college (Friedmann et al., 2022). Of the research used within the evaluation, solely six clearly reported attrition charges.
  • Reliance on self-report information impacts the findings of the reviewed research. For instance, members might have over-reported the dimensions of their friendship networks to be able to make themselves seem extra positively, slightly than wanting like they’ve few or no associates.
  • Variations within the strategies used to establish associates and measure friendship networks signifies that these variables are usually not standardised throughout the research used. This limits the conclusions which will be drawn from utilizing these research collectively.
The systematic review showed strengths in its pre-registration and focus on whole network studies. However, there are also limitations in multiple studies using the same dataset, varied outcome measures, and reliance on self-report.

The systematic evaluation confirmed strengths in its pre-registration and give attention to complete community research. Nevertheless, there are additionally limitations in a number of research utilizing the identical dataset, diversified end result measures, and reliance on self-report.

Implications for apply

The findings from this systematic evaluation have vital implications for healthcare professionals, instructional professionals, and researchers.

Implications for intervention and prevention

  • Growing the sense of neighborhood inside colleges and cultivating stronger social connections could also be useful in stopping SITAB. This could possibly be finished by bettering college connectedness, the place college students really feel that employees and friends at school care about them as people in addition to their studying. A core notion of faculty connectedness is feeling included: a way of belonging and never feeling alone.
  • Prevention and intervention efforts might contain figuring out friendship teams the place a number of people have identified SITAB, as different associates inside these teams could also be at the next danger.
  • The above additionally applies to socially remoted college students. After figuring out these college students, it will be significant that school-based interventions are in place to offer assist. Nevertheless, present school-based interventions to deal with self-harm are sparse and extra analysis is required on this space to raised assist academics and college students (Nawaz et al, 2023).

Implications for future analysis

  • There’s a want for up to date sociometric datasets that seize the complexities of friendship networks and their affiliation with SITAB. Researchers ought to think about using stochastic actor-oriented fashions (SAOMs) on this endeavour, as they’re essential in distinguishing between socialisation and choice processes, which might inform preventive measures. They’ll use particular fashions, corresponding to SAOMs, to know how friendships type and have an effect on adolescents, which might help them create methods to forestall adverse influences and promote optimistic ones.
  • Researchers must also think about exploring variations throughout the adolescent developmental interval, as it’s now recognised that adolescence continues into the twenties (Sawyer et al., 2018).
  • Lastly, it will be significant that researchers adhere to finest apply tips when reporting research, together with the constant reporting of response charges, alongside making an attempt to standardise approaches for sociometric information assortment, community metric measurement, and evaluation. Each are important for selling comparability and advancing the sector.
Increasing the sense of community within schools and cultivating a greater density of social connections may be beneficial in preventing self-injurious thoughts and behaviours among adolescents.

Growing the sense of neighborhood inside colleges and cultivating a higher density of social connections could also be useful in stopping self-injurious ideas and behaviours amongst adolescents.

Assertion of pursuits



Major paper

Crudgington, H., Wilson, E., Copeland, M., Morgan, C., & Knowles, G. (2023). Peer-friendship networks and self-injurious ideas and behaviors in adolescence: a scientific evaluation of sociometric school-based research that use social community evaluation. Adolescent Analysis Assessment, 8(1), 21-43.

Different references

Gillies, D., Christou, M. A., Dixon, A. C., Featherston, O. J., Rapti, I., Garcia-Anguita, A., et al. (2018). Prevalence and Characteris­tics of Self-Hurt in Adolescents: Meta-Analyses of Group-Based mostly Research 1990–2015. Journal of the American Academy of Baby & Adolescent Psychiatry, 57(10), 733–741.

Corridor, S., & Melia, Y. (2022). What’s Recognized In regards to the Position of Buddy­ship in Adolescent Self-Hurt? A Assessment and Thematic Synthe­sis. Baby & Youth Care Discussion board,1–26.

Jarvi, S., Jackson, B., Swenson, L., & Crawford, H. (2013). The Affect of Social Contagion on Non-Suicidal Self-Harm: A Assessment of the Literature. Archives of Suicide Analysis, 17(1), 1–19.

John, A., Friedmann, Y., DelPozo-Banos, M., Frizzati, A., Ford, T., & Thapar, A. (2022). Affiliation of College absence and exclusion with recorded neurodevelopmental problems, psychological problems, or self-harm: A nationwide, retrospective, Digital Cohort Research of youngsters and Younger Individuals in Wales, UK. The Lancet Psychiatry, 9(1), 23–34.

Mars, B., Heron, J., Klonsky, E. D., Moran, P., O’Connor, R. C., Until­ing, Okay., et al. (2019). What distinguishes adolescents with suicidal ideas from those that have tried suicide? A population-based beginning cohort research. Journal of Baby Psychology and Psy­chiatry, 60(1), 91–99.

Montgomery, S. C., Donnelly, M., Bhatnagar, P., Carlin, A., Kee, F., & Hunter, R. F. (2020). Peer social community processes and adoles­cent well being behaviors: A scientific evaluation. Preventive Drugs, 130, 105900.

Nawaz, R. F., Anderson, J. Okay., Colville, L., Fraser‐Andrews, C., & Ford, T. J. (2023). Interventions to forestall or handle self‐hurt amongst college students in instructional settings–a scientific evaluationBaby and Adolescent Psychological Well being.

Sawyer, S. M., Azzopardi, P. S., Wickremarathne, D., & Patton, G. C. (2018). The age of adolescence. The Lancet Baby & Adolescent Well being, 2(3), 223–228

Snijders, T. A. B., van de Bunt, G. G., & Steglich, C. E. G. (2010). Introduction to stochastic actor-based fashions for community dynam­ics. Social Networks, 32(1), 44–60.

Syed, S., Kingsbury, M., Bennett, Okay., Manion, I., & Colman, I. (2020). Adolescents’ information of a peer’s non-suicidal self‐harm and personal non‐suicidal self‐harm and suicidality. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 142(5), 366–373.

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