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Ethnicity and deliberate self-injury: A review of the literature

Deliberate self-injury is a significant social problem affecting youth in New Zealand. Rates of hospitalisation for youth (aged 15 to 19) from deliberate self-injury approximate 225 per 100,000. It appears that the rates for Maori and women are significantly higher. From 1987 to 1993, an average of 488 Maori women per 100 000 population have been hospitalised each year (Ministry of Health: Manatu Hauora, 1996). This paper draws upon both local and international literature to examine factors underlying this ethnic disparity. There is a wealth of literature examining risk factors underlying suicidal behaviour as a whole. Deliberate self-injury is usually assumed to be an adjunct of youth suicide; prevention strategies are conflated. This paper argues that this assumption is untenable, and in particular, that prevention strategies designed for youth suicide are problematic in terms of deliberate selfinjury. While prevention strategies are based upon studies that do not differentiate between these groups, results will be compromised.
Conference Contribution
Type of thesis
Wilson, C. (1999). Ethnicity and deliberate self-injury: A review of the literature. In Robertson, N. (Ed). Māori and psychology: Research and practice. Proceedings of a symposium sponsored by the Māori & Psychology Research Unit, Department of Psychology, University of Waikato, Hamilton, Thursday 26th August 1999 (pp.37-46). Hamilton, New Zealand: Māori and Psychology Research Unit, University of Waikato.
Maori and Psychology Research Unit, University of Waikato