Exposure to websites that encourage self-harm and suicide: prevalence rates and association with actual thoughts of self-harm and thoughts of suicide in the United States.

Academic Article


  • This article provides 12-month prevalence rates of youth exposure to websites which encourage self-harm or suicide and examines whether such exposure is related to thoughts of self-harm and thoughts of suicide in the past 30 days. Data were collected via telephone from a nationally representative survey of 1560 Internet-using youth, ages 10-17 residing in the United States. One percent (95% CI: 0.5%, 1.5%) of youth reported visiting a website that encouraged self-harm or suicide. Youth who visited such websites were seven times more likely to say they had thought about killing themselves; and 11 times more likely to think about hurting themselves, even after adjusting for several known risk factors for thoughts of self-harm and thoughts of suicide. Given that youth thinking about self-harm and suicide are more likely to visit these sites, they may represent an opportunity for identification of youth in need of crisis intervention.
  • Authors

  • Mitchell, Kimberly
  • Wells, Melissa
  • Priebe, Gisela
  • Ybarra, Michele L
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • December 2014
  • Published In


  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Self-Injurious Behavior
  • Self-harm
  • Self-injury
  • Suicidal Ideation
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Suicide
  • United States
  • Youth
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 25313930
  • Start Page

  • 1335
  • End Page

  • 1344
  • Volume

  • 37
  • Issue

  • 8