Mechanisms of self-harm behavior in non-clinical adolescent population: the results of monitoring in Moscow schools



The behavior of self-harm is prevalent among adolescents. Most research on the topic has focused either on qualitative investigation of hospitalized teens or on quantitative research of non-clinical population. There combination of these approaches is considered very promising, yet it is extremely rare. The present article investigates the behavior of self-harm without suicidal intention in non-clinical population. The participants were 604 students of Moscow schools (7—11 grades). 22% participants reported at least 1 act of deliberate self-harm in the lifetime period (54% — single episode, 46% multiple episodes of self-harm). 100 adolescents with a history of non-suicidal self-harm were further assessed with Clinical In- ventory, which reflected the gradation of the key suicide markers. Clinical assess- ment revealed three major mechanisms of self-harm development: stressful (20%), depressive (45%), and psychopathological (35%). Further distinction among impulsive and reflective led to description of 6 groups, each having specific clini- cal picture, dynamics, motives, personal patterns and attitude towards self-harm. Understanding of leading mechanism of antivital behavior is essential for effecting crisis intervention and psychological counseling of adolescents in the aftermath of self-harm or suicidal attempts. Comparative analysis of these results with data on clinical population reveals several differences.

General Information

Keywords: adolescents, self-harm behavior, clinical assessment, monitoring

Journal rubric: Empirical Researches

Article type: scientific article


For citation: Bannikov G.S., Fedunina N.Y., Pavlova T.S., Vikhristyuk O.V., Letova A.V., Bazhenova M.D. Mechanisms of self-harm behavior in non-clinical adolescent population: the results of monitoring in Moscow schools. Konsul'tativnaya psikhologiya i psikhoterapiya = Counseling Psychology and Psychotherapy, 2016. Vol. 24, no. 3, pp. 42–68. DOI: 10.17759/cpp.2016240304. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Gennady S. Bannikov, PhD in Medicine, Senior Researcher, Department of Suicidology, Moscow Research Institute of Psychiatry (Branch), V.P. Serbsky National Medical Research Centre for Psychiatry and Narcology of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation, Senior Researcher, Department of Scientific and Methodological Support, Federal Coordination Center for the Provision of Psychological Services in the Education System of the Russian Federation, Moscow State University of Psychology & Education, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Natalya Y. Fedunina, PhD in Psychology, research fellow of the Centre for emergency psychological assistance, Moscow State University of Psychology, psychologis, Sports Center (CCU «Moskomsport»), Moscow, Russia, e-mail:

Tat'iana S. Pavlova, PhD in Psychology, research associate, research laboratory «Scientific and Methodological Basis of Emergent Psychological Aid», Center for Emergent Psychological Aid, Moscow State University of Psychology & Education, Moscow, Russia, e-mail:

Olesya V. Vikhristyuk, PhD in Psychology, Director of Center for Emergent Psychological Aid, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Anna V. Letova, Laboratory Assistant, Center for Emergent Psychological Aid, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Moscow, Russia, e-mail:

Marina D. Bazhenova, Center for Emergency Psychological Aid, Moscow State University of Psychology & Education, Head of Counseling Center, Institute of Counseling Psychology and Consulting (FPC Institute), Moscow, Russia, e-mail:



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