The prevalence and frequency of deliberate self-harm among male patients in a maximum secure hospital
MetadataShow full item record
Aims: This study was undertaken to ascertain the prevalence and frequency of deliberate self-harm (DSH) among male patients in a high security hospital, to determine whether males who harm themselves are younger than those who do not, and to determine whether the legal category of patients distinguished frequency of DSH. Background: This is the first study to examine whether such differences exist to a statistically significant extent among male patients in a maximum secure hospital. Previous studies on such female patients have found that those who engage in DSH are significantly younger and have had significantly shorter length of stay in the institution than those who do not. Additionally, the frequency of DSH by female patients with psychopathic disorder has been found to be significantly greater than that by those with mental illness. Method: Nursing daily ward report books were examined on four wards for a 30-month period. Results: In a sample of 127 male patients at Rampton Hospital in England, 24 (19% of the sample) engaged in deliberate self-harm. In total, 122 incidents of DSH occurred during the study period. Five patients (4% of the sample) contributed 82 incidents between them (67% of the total). Patients who engaged in DSH were significantly younger than those who did not. This was true for the entire sample considered together, regardless of their Mental Health Act (1983) classification and for patients solely with mental illness and those solely with psychopathic disorder. Although the period of time since admission to the hospital was shorter for those who engaged in DSH, it was not so to a significant extent. There were no differences between the frequency of DSH by psychopathic disorder patients and that by those with mental illness.