Group problem-solving skills training for self-harm: randomised controlled trial.


Journal Article

BACKGROUND: Rates of self-harm are high and have recently increased. This trend and the repetitive nature of self-harm pose a significant challenge to mental health services. AIMS: To determine the efficacy of a structured group problem-solving skills training (PST) programme as an intervention approach for self-harm in addition to treatment as usual (TAU) as offered by mental health services. METHOD: A total of 433 participants (aged 18-64 years) were randomly assigned to TAU plus PST or TAU alone. Assessments were carried out at baseline and at 6-week and 6-month follow-up and repeated hospital-treated self-harm was ascertained at 12-month follow-up. RESULTS: The treatment groups did not differ in rates of repeated self-harm at 6-week, 6-month and 12-month follow-up. Both treatment groups showed significant improvements in psychological and social functioning at follow-up. Only one measure (needing and receiving practical help from those closest to them) showed a positive treatment effect at 6-week (P = 0.004) and 6-month (P = 0.01) follow-up. Repetition was not associated with waiting time in the PST group. CONCLUSIONS: This brief intervention for self-harm is no more effective than treatment as usual. Further work is required to establish whether a modified, more intensive programme delivered sooner after the index episode would be effective.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • McAuliffe, C; McLeavey, BC; Fitzgerald, T; Corcoran, P; Carroll, B; Ryan, L; O'Keeffe, B; Fitzgerald, E; Hickey, P; O'Regan, M; Mulqueen, J; Arensman, E

Published Date

  • 2014

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 204 /

Start / End Page

  • 383 - 390

PubMed ID

  • 24434070

Pubmed Central ID

  • 24434070

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1472-1465

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1192/bjp.bp.111.101816


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England