Self-harm in Adolescence: Protective Health Assets in the Family, School and Community

Elene Klemera, Fiona Brooks, Kayleigh Chester, Josefine Magnusson, Neil Spencer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
152 Downloads (Pure)


Objectives and main purpose: The aim of this paper was to examine if the multiple environments of the adolescent including family, peers, school and neighbourhood might function as protective health assets against self-harming behaviour during adolescence.
Methods: The present study utilised data collected from 1608 respondents aged 15 years as part of the HBSC England Study. Multilevel modelling was undertaken using the package MLwiN (version 2.33) to investigate the potential domains and dimensions of family life, school culture and environment, and neighbourhood factors that may operate as protective health assets.
Results: The results indicated that while peer support did not appear to operate as a protective health asset in the context of self-harm, key dimensions of adolescent/ parent interaction and adolescent experience of the school culture and their neighbourhood were associated with reduced likelihood of self-harming behaviours during adolescence.
Conclusions: The Findings highlight the significance of belonging and connectedness as important constituent elements of protective health assets for young people. Interventions that address the multiple environments of the young person, may offer an effective means to reduce the levels of self-harm.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)631–638
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Public Health
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sept 2016


  • self-harm
  • protective health assets
  • family
  • school
  • young people


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