Browse/search for people

Publication - Mrs Katharine Bramley

    Brief report

    Self-cutting and risk of subsequent suicide


    Carroll, RJ, Thomas, KH, Bramley, KJ, Williams, S, Griffin, LJ, Potokar, JP & Gunnell, D, 2016, ‘Brief report: Self-cutting and risk of subsequent suicide’. Journal of Affective Disorders, vol 192., pp. 8-10



    Some studies suggest that people who self-cut have a higher risk of suicide than those who self-poison. Self-cutting ranges from superficial wrist cutting to severe self-injury involving areas such as the chest, abdomen and neck which can be life threatening. This study aimed to investigate whether the site of self-cutting was associated with risk of subsequent suicide.


    We followed-up 3928 people who presented to hospital following self-harm between September 2010 and December 2013 in a prospective cohort study based on the Bristol Self-harm Surveillance Register. Demographic information from these presentations was linked with coroner’s data to identify subsequent suicides.


    People who presented with self-cutting to areas other than the arm/wrist were at increased risk of suicide compared to those who self-poisoned (HR 4.31, 95% CI 1.27 to 14.63, p=0.029) and this increased risk remained after controlling for age, sex, history of previous self-harm and psychiatric diagnosis (HR 4.46, 95% CI 1.50 to 13.25, p<0.001). We observed no such increased risk in people presenting with cutting to the arm/wrist.


    These data represent the experience of one city in the UK and may not be generalisable outside of this context. Furthermore, as suicide is a rare outcome the precision of our estimates is limited.


    Site of self-injury may be an important risk factor for subsequent suicide.

    Full details in the University publications repository