Article open access publication

Incidence Rates of Deliberate Self-Harm in Denmark 1994–2011

Crisis, Hogrefe Publishing Group, ISSN 2151-2396

Volume 37, 4, 2016

DOI:10.1027/0227-5910/a000391, Dimensions: pub.1056342953, PMC: PMC5137321, PMID: 27278571,



  1. (1) University of Copenhagen, grid.5254.6, KU
  2. (2) Research Unit, Mental Health Centre Copenhagen, Capital Region of Denmark, Denmark
  3. (3) Department of Psychiatry, Region of Southern Denmark, Aabenraa, Denmark
  4. (4) Johns Hopkins University, grid.21107.35


BACKGROUND: The validity and reliability of suicide statistics have been questioned and few nationwide studies of deliberate self-harm have been presented. AIM: To calculate rates of deliberate self-harm in Denmark in order to investigate trends and assess the reliability of hospital records. METHOD: A register study based on all individuals recorded with an episode of deliberate self-harm or probable deliberate self-harm in nationwide registers during 1994-2011. RESULTS: A substantial difference in the rates of deliberate self-harm and probable deliberate self-harm was noted for both genders. The average incidence rate of deliberate self-harm for women and men was 130.7 (95% CI = 129.6-131.8) per 100,000 and 86.9 (95% CI = 86.0-87.8) per 100,000, respectively. The rates of deliberate self-harm for women increased from 137.6 (95% CI = 132.9-142.3) per 100,000 in 1994 to 152.7 (95% CI = 147.8-157.5) in 2011. For a subgroup of younger women aged 15-24 years, an almost threefold increase was observed, IRR = 2.5 (95% CI = 2.4-2.7). The most frequently used method was self-poisoning. CONCLUSION: The rates of deliberate self-harm and probable deliberate self-harm differed significantly. An increased incidence of deliberate self-harm among young Danish women was observed, despite detection bias. An improved registration procedure of suicidal behavior is needed.

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2016: Unused

Research area: Medicine

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2016: Level 1

Research area: Medicine

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