Demographic and Psychosocial Characteristics of Self-harm: The Pakistan Perspective.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • External authors:
  • M. Omair Hussain
  • Madeha Umer
  • Tayyeba Kiran
  • Sami Ansari
  • Imran Chaudhry


Self-harm is a major public health issue in Pakistan, yet the characteristics of those who self-harm are under-explored. This is a secondary analysis from a large randomized control trial on the prevention of self-harm, exploring demographic, clinical and psychological characteristics of people who self-harm in Pakistan. A total of 221 participants with a history of self-harm were recruited from medical wards of three major hospitals in Karachi. The Beck Scale for Suicidal Ideation (BSI), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), Beck Hopelessness Scale (BHS), and Suicide Attempt Self Injury Interview (SASII) assessment scales were completed. The sample consisted predominantly of females (68.8%) in their 20’s. Interpersonal difficulties were most commonly reported as the main antecedent to the self-harm, followed by financial difficulties. Participants had high severity scores on BSI, BDI and BHS. Pesticide and insecticide use were (n=167, 75.6%) the most common methods of self-harm. The findings indicate that some characteristics of those who self-harm in Pakistan are comparable to other populations. This may raise the possibility of common causal mechanisms and processes. Future research needs to examine the efficacy of interventions targeting these risk factors in reducing rates of self-harm and thus suicide.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychiatry Research
Early online date7 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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