Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 932540, 14 pages
Research Article

Self-Harm and Suicidal Behaviors in Hong Kong Adolescents: Prevalence and Psychosocial Correlates

Daniel T. L. Shek1,2,3,4,5 and Lu Yu1

1Department of Applied Social Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong
2Public Policy Research Institute, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong
3Department of Social Work, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200000, China
4Kiang Wu Nursing College of Macau, Macau
5Division of Adolescent Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Kentucky Children's Hospital, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington, KY 40506, USA

Received 1 August 2011; Accepted 19 August 2011

Academic Editor: Joav Merrick

Copyright © 2012 Daniel T. L. Shek and Lu Yu. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The present paper examined the prevalence and psychosocial correlates of adolescent deliberate self-harm (DSH) and suicidal behavior in a representative sample of 3,328 secondary school students in Hong Kong. With reference to the previous year, 32.7% of the students reported at least one form of DSH, 13.7% of the respondents had suicide thoughts, 4.9% devised specific suicidal plans, and 4.7% had actually attempted suicide. Adolescent girls had significantly higher rates of DSH and suicidal behavior than did adolescent boys. Having remarried parents was related to an increased likelihood of DSH and suicide. While high levels of family functioning, overall positive youth development, and academic and school performance predicted low rates of DSH and suicidal behavior, cognitive and behavioral competencies were unexpectedly found to be positively associated with DSH and suicidal behavior. Theoretical and practical implications of the findings are discussed.