The impact of quality and quantity of social support on help-seeking behavior prior to deliberate self-harm

Chia-Yi Wu, Robert Stewart, Hui-Chun Huang, Martin Prince, Shen-Ing Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Little is known about use of formal or informal help-seeking resources prior to deliberate self-harm (DSH) outside Western settings. The aim of the study was to investigate help-seeking behavior and correlates of this prior to self-harm in an East Asian setting. Methods: Over a year period, consecutive attendees at a general hospital emergency room in Taiwan with DSH were asked about prior medical contact and informal help-seeking in the month prior to DSH. Self-reported social support/network was measured using the Close Persons Questionnaire. Results: The mean age of the 209 participants was 35.2 years (S.D.=13.3), with three times more women (75.6%) than men. Nearly half had made medical contact (47.1%) or sought informal help (54.1%) within the month prior to DSH. After adjustment, higher level of confiding and practical support were associated with seeking informal help (odds ratio [OR] 1.14, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.06-123; OR 1.17, 95% CI 1.04-1.32, respectively). Prior medical contact was negatively associated with higher social network outside the home (OR 0.91, 95% CI 0.85-0.98). Conclusion: Social support/network potentially modifies help-seeking behavior prior to DSH. Quality rather than quantity of social support was associated with seeking informal support, with the reverse pattern associated with prior medical contact. Crown Copyright (C) 2011 Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37 - 44
Number of pages8
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011


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