skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 221065 Find in a Library
Title: Characteristics and Predictors of Self-Mutilation: A Study of Incarcerated Women
Journal: Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health  Volume:17  Issue:5  Dated:2007  Pages:312-321
Author(s): Dominique Roe-Sepowitz
Date Published: 2007
Page Count: 10
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This study examined whether a history of childhood abuse increased the likelihood of self-mutilation among 256 female inmates in 5 prisons in a large southern State.
Abstract: The study found that women in the self-mutilation group (n=109) were more likely to report higher rates of childhood emotional, sexual, and physical abuse. They were also more likely to reach clinical significance on scales of anxiety, depression, dissociation, impaired self-reference, anger, tension-reduction, and intrusive experiences. Women in the self-mutilation group were younger and more likely to be White. A history of suicide attempts, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, binging and vomiting, and impaired self-reference were predictors of self-mutilation. The author recommends that female children, adolescent girls, and women be assessed for self-mutilating behaviors when they have been identified as survivors of sexual, physical, and/or emotional abuse. Prison personnel, child welfare workers, and mental health workers should be trained in identifying correlates and possible predictors of self-mutilating behaviors. Prevention programs should be developed for elementary, middle, and high-school teachers, so they can identify self-mutilating behaviors. Also, specific self-mutilation treatment groups should be developed for incarcerated women. Victims of self-mutilating behaviors should be offered tools for body awareness, such as breathing exercises, guided imagery, and body scans, so they can develop a healthy image of their bodies. The 256 women inmates were evaluated for childhood abuse, criminal history, risk-taking behavior, and self-mutilation. Self-mutilators and nonself-mutilators were compared on individual, criminal, abuse, family, and risk-taking behaviors. 4 tables and 31 references
Main Term(s): Corrections policies
Index Term(s): Adult survivors of child sexual abuse; Child abuse; Female inmates; Long term health effects of child abuse; Offender mental health services; Self mutilation
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.