Self-Harm Study Finds Kids as Young as 7 Cut, Burn, Hit Themselves

The study, just published in the journal Pediatrics, found nearly 8 percent of third-graders admitted to intentionally hurting themselves. About two-thirds told researchers they had done it more than once.

Researchers discovered that children, even those as young as 7, found that causing physical pain helps them cope with emotional stress. The study found 4 percent of sixth-graders and nearly 13 percent of ninth-graders reported harming themselves.

By ninth-grade, girls were three times more likely to self-injure than boys with cutting and carving of skin the most common method for girls. The findings are based on interviews with 665 kids in the Denver area and central New Jersey.

Depression, anger and anxiety can lead to self-injury,” explains Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Jan Hamilton. “Parents need to pay attention and ask their children about cuts and bruises.”

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