Online behavior of youth who engage in self-harm provides clues for preventive intervention.

Academic Article


  • OBJECTIVE: To explore the Internet use and interpersonal interactions of youth reporting deliberate self-harm as defined by any non-fatal act, regardless of intention. METHOD: The Second Youth Internet Safety Survey is a nationally representative telephone survey of 1500 Internet users (ages 10-17) in the United States, conducted March to June 2005. RESULTS: Youth reporting deliberate self-harm in the past 6 months (3%) were significantly more likely than other youth to have a sexual screen name or to talk with people known only online about sex (35% versus 5%) and to use chat rooms (57% versus 29%). All youth were equally likely to talk online with people known in person, yet youth engaging in deliberate self-harm were significantly more likely also to have a close relationship with someone met online (38% versus 10%). Three quarters (76%) of youth reporting self-harm used instant messaging. CONCLUSION: Findings suggest that youth who engage in self-harm may be more likely to engage in online behaviors that have the potential to place them in risky situations. Programs aimed at preventing deliberate self-harm should consider adding chat room and instant messaging to their telephone hotline capabilities.
  • Authors

  • Mitchell, Kimberly
  • Ybarra, Michele L
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • November 2007
  • Published In


  • Adolescent
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Risk-Taking
  • Self Concept
  • Self-Injurious Behavior
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 17599399
  • Start Page

  • 392
  • End Page

  • 396
  • Volume

  • 45
  • Issue

  • 5