Family attributes, family functioning, and positive youth development as predictors of adolescent self-harm : a longitudinal study in Hong Kong

Tan Lei Shek, Li Lin

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingChapter in an edited book (as author)Academic researchpeer-review


Utilizing four waves of longitudinal data (N = 3,328 at Wave 1), the present study examined the influence of family attributes (family intactness and economic disadvantage), family functioning, and positive youth development on self-harm and suicidal behavior of Chinese adolescents in Hong Kong. While 17.1–24.7 % of students had deliberately harmed themselves at least once, there were decreasing trends of deliberate self-harm behavior and suicidal signs over 4 years. For sociodemographic correlates, family intactness but not economic disadvantage was related to initial deliberate self-harm and suicidal behavior. Besides, suicidal behaviors in adolescents from non-intact families decreased faster than those from intact families. At Wave 4, family functioning and positive youth development negatively predicted deliberate self-harm behavior and suicidal behavior. While Wave 1 positive youth development predicted Wave 4 deliberate self-harm without controlling the initial level of deliberated self-harm, Wave 1 family functioning predicted Wave 4 suicidal signs even after controlling the initial level of suicidal signs.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStudent well-being in Chinese adolescents in Hong Kong : theory, intervention and research
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9789812875815, 9789812875822, 9812875816, 9812875824
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Positive youth development
  • Deliberate self-harm
  • Suicidal behavior
  • Family functioning
  • Longitudinal study

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