Social conditioning for the self-harm behaviour in adolescence


  • Remus RUNCAN,
  • Bogdan NADOLU Associate Professor West University of TimiÈ™oara



The most common causes of self-harm in adolescents are related to family (abuse, arguments with parents, poor communication), school (bullying), and behaviour (cyberbullying, illicit substance use, rejection by a boy or girl friend). Adolescents self-mutilate because of difficulty talking about their feelings, of peer contagion, of peer pressure, of suicidal thoughts; out of anger / desperation to seek attention, to show their hopelessness, to show their worthlessness; to be accepted, to rebel, to reject their parents’ values, to state their individuality, or to take risks. Adolescents who self-harm are, usually, adolescents with multiple problems such as co-morbid psychiatric disorders (anorexia nervosa, anxiety state, Bipolar Disorder, conduct disorder, depression, hyperactivity, Post Traumatic Disorder, psychosis), educational failure (learning problems, school refusal), and impaired psychosocial functioning; who come from families with high psychopathology rates; and who may have lived unhappy life events. Depressive disorder is less common among pre-adolescents, with no gender difference; mid-adolescence self-harm behaviour shows a female preponderance, which is also found in adult females.