Self-harm in nurses: prevalence and correlates

Teris Cheung, Paul S.F. Yip

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: The aim of this study was to examine the weighed prevalence of self-harm and its correlates among Hong Kong nurses. Background: Recent epidemiological data suggest that the weighted prevalence of past-year suicidality among Hong Kong nurses was found to be 14·9%. Deliberate self-harm was a significant correlate of suicidality. Nonetheless, there are few population-based studies exploring the prevalence of self-harm and its correlates among medical occupational groups in Asia. Design: The study uses a cross-sectional survey design. Method: Data were collected in Hong Kong over a four-week period from October–November 2013. Statistical methods, including binary and multivariate logistic regression models, were used to examine the weighted prevalence of self-harm and its associated factors in nurses. Results: A total of 850 nurses participated in the study. Seventy-nine participants (9·3%) reported self-harm in the past year. Nurses aged between 25-44 were at especially high risk of self-harm. Female nurses reported self-harm more than male nurses. The most common forms of self-harm were self-cutting, striking oneself and poisoning oneself. Clinical experience, chronic illness, relationship crises with family members, a family history of self-harm, smoking, symptoms of stress and psychiatric disorder were significantly associated with nurses’ self-harm. The positive correlation between psychiatric disorder and self-harm was confirmed. Conclusions: There is a need for a raft of self-harm prevention strategies, including a continuous monitoring system in the healthcare setting detecting and managing the risks of self-harm in nurses as part of the ordinary provision for their well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2124-2137
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2016


  • anxiety
  • cross-sectional
  • depression
  • epidemiology
  • nurses
  • nursing
  • self-harm
  • stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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