Researcher Pinpoints Factors Associated with Teen Self-Harm
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Taliaferro recommends that parents strengthen connections with their teens and help foster connections between their children and other positive adult influences.
“One of the most important protective factors against teens engaging in self-injury was parent connectedness, and, for females, connections with other pro-social adults also were associated with reduced likelihood of engaging in self injury,” Taliaferro said. “Parents are extremely valuable influences in their children’s lives.”
Although parents play influential roles in teens’ lives, Taliaferro said mental health professionals are the best resources for troubled teens. Medical professionals, such as primary care physicians, can also serve crucial roles by identifying teens that self injure and referring them to community support systems and mental health specialists before their behaviors escalate, Taliaferro said.
The Department of Health Sciences is part of the MU School of Health Professions. Taliaferro’s study, “Factors Distinguishing Youth Who Report Self-Injurious Behavior: A Population-Based Sample,” was published in Academic Pediatrics. She collaborated with researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, the University of Minnesota and the Pennsylvania State University.