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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 60 (2018) 12, 808 - 816


Non-suicidal self-injury among prisoners: prevalence, risk factors, and prevention

L. Favril, I. Baetens, F. Vander Laenen

background Although non-suicidal self-injury (nssi) is a serious health concern among prisoners worldwide, no empirical data on this issue are currently available specifically for Belgium.
aim To investigate the prevalence rates of, and risk factors for, nssi in Flemish prisons.
method A cross-sectional study based on a representative sample of 1326 prisoners (1203 men and 123 women), randomly selected from 15 Flemish prisons.
results Overall, 17.3% of prisoners self-reported a lifetime history of nssi. One in 12 prisoners (8.6%) engaged in nssi whilst incarcerated; this was significantly associated with both static (younger age, sentenced status, and violent offending) and dynamic (psychiatric disorders, distress, and coping strategies) risk factors.
conclusion The extent of nssi among prisoners in Flanders is considerable. The identified risk factors present important targets for prevention and intervention in a custodial setting.

keywords incarceration, inmates, non-suicidal self-injury, self-harm