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A comparison of self-harming behaviours in two prevalent groups of psychiatric outpatients Open Access


Other title
self-harming behaviour
suicidal intent
borderline personality disorder
psychiatric outpatients
major depressive disorder
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Cristall, Maarit Hannele
Supervisor and department
Newman, Stephen (Psychiatry)
Examining committee member and department
Laing, Lory (Public Health)
Bland, Roger (Psychiatry)
Joyce, Anthony (Psychiatry)
Department of Psychiatry

Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
Self-harming behaviours and suicidality are a serious problem in psychiatric patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) and borderline personality disorder (BPD). Suicidal behaviours are sometimes seen as manipulative and attention-seeking in BPD patients, and are therefore not considered as dangerous as the same behaviours in MDD patients. The Suicidal Feelings and Self-Harm Questionnaire, which examines suicidal intent, was administered to all new outpatients at the Psychiatric Treatment Clinic in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton, Canada. Thirty-seven percent of the MDD patients, 78% of the BPD patients, and 77% of patients with comorbid MDD and BPD reported a history of self-harm. Suicidal intent was measured by asking the patients whether they expected to die as a result of their self-harm. There was no statistically significant difference between the diagnostic groups in this regard. This suggests that BPD patients are no less serious about their intent to die than those with MDD.
License granted by Maarit Cristall ( on 2011-01-10T21:20:28Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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File title: Suicide is the ninth leading cause of death in the United States (Singh, Kochanek, & MacDorman, 1999), and parasuicide is the greatest predictor of completed suicide (Welch, 2001) with up to 15% of individuals who have a history of parasuicide eve...
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