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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Psychosocial interventions for self-harm in adults

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, April 2021
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (95th percentile)
  • Above-average Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (60th percentile)

Mentioned by

2 blogs
1 policy source
60 tweeters
3 Facebook pages
1 Wikipedia page


17 Dimensions

Readers on

198 Mendeley
Psychosocial interventions for self-harm in adults
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, April 2021
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd013668.pub2
Pubmed ID

Katrina G Witt, Sarah E Hetrick, Gowri Rajaram, Philip Hazell, Tatiana L Taylor Salisbury, Ellen Townsend, Keith Hawton


Self-harm (SH; intentional self-poisoning or self-injury regardless of degree of suicidal intent or other types of motivation) is a growing problem in most counties, often repeated, and associated with suicide. There has been a substantial increase in both the number of trials and therapeutic approaches of psychosocial interventions for SH in adults. This review therefore updates a previous Cochrane Review (last published in 2016) on the role of psychosocial interventions in the treatment of SH in adults. To assess the effects of psychosocial interventions for self-harm (SH) compared to comparison types of care (e.g. treatment-as-usual, routine psychiatric care, enhanced usual care, active comparator) for adults (aged 18 years or older) who engage in SH. We searched the Cochrane Common Mental Disorders Specialised Register, the Cochrane Library (Central Register of Controlled Trials [CENTRAL] and Cochrane Database of Systematic reviews [CDSR]), together with MEDLINE, Ovid Embase, and PsycINFO (to 4 July 2020). We included all randomised controlled trials (RCTs) comparing interventions of specific psychosocial treatments versus treatment-as-usual (TAU), routine psychiatric care, enhanced usual care (EUC), active comparator, or a combination of these, in the treatment of adults with a recent (within six months of trial entry) episode of SH resulting in presentation to hospital or clinical services. The primary outcome was the occurrence of a repeated episode of SH over a maximum follow-up period of two years. Secondary outcomes included treatment adherence, depression, hopelessness, general functioning, social functioning, suicidal ideation, and suicide. We independently selected trials, extracted data, and appraised trial quality. For binary outcomes, we calculated odds ratio (ORs) and their 95% confidence intervals (CIs). For continuous outcomes, we calculated mean differences (MDs) or standardised mean differences (SMDs) and 95% CIs. The overall quality of evidence for the primary outcome (i.e. repetition of SH at post-intervention) was appraised for each intervention using the GRADE approach. We included data from 76 trials with a total of 21,414 participants. Participants in these trials were predominately female (61.9%) with a mean age of 31.8 years (standard deviation [SD] 11.7 years). On the basis of data from four trials, individual cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)-based psychotherapy may reduce repetition of SH as compared to TAU or another comparator by the end of the intervention (OR 0.35, 95% CI 0.12 to 1.02; N = 238; k = 4; GRADE: low certainty evidence), although there was imprecision in the effect estimate. At longer follow-up time points (e.g., 6- and 12-months) there was some evidence that individual CBT-based psychotherapy may reduce SH repetition. Whilst there may be a slightly lower rate of SH repetition for dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) (66.0%) as compared to TAU or alternative psychotherapy (68.2%), the evidence remains uncertain as to whether DBT reduces absolute repetition of SH by the post-intervention assessment. On the basis of data from a single trial, mentalisation-based therapy (MBT) reduces repetition of SH and frequency of SH by the post-intervention assessment (OR 0.35, 95% CI 0.17 to 0.73; N = 134; k = 1; GRADE: high-certainty evidence). A group-based emotion-regulation psychotherapy may also reduce repetition of SH by the post-intervention assessment based on evidence from two trials by the same author group (OR 0.34, 95% CI 0.13 to 0.88; N = 83; k = 2; moderate-certainty evidence). There is probably little to no effect for different variants of DBT on absolute repetition of SH, including DBT group-based skills training, DBT individual skills training, or an experimental form of DBT in which participants were given significantly longer cognitive exposure to stressful events. The evidence remains uncertain as to whether provision of information and support, based on the Suicide Trends in At-Risk Territories (START) and the SUicide-PREvention Multisite Intervention Study on Suicidal behaviors (SUPRE-MISS) models, have any effect on repetition of SH by the post-intervention assessment. There was no evidence of a difference for psychodynamic psychotherapy, case management, general practitioner (GP) management, remote contact interventions, and other multimodal interventions, or a variety of brief emergency department-based interventions. Overall, there were significant methodological limitations across the trials included in this review. Given the moderate or very low quality of the available evidence, there is only uncertain evidence regarding a number of psychosocial interventions for adults who engage in SH. Psychosocial therapy based on CBT approaches may result in fewer individuals repeating SH at longer follow-up time points, although no such effect was found at the post-intervention assessment and the quality of evidence, according to the GRADE criteria, was low. Given findings in single trials, or trials by the same author group, both MBT and group-based emotion regulation therapy should be further developed and evaluated in adults. DBT may also lead to a reduction in frequency of SH. Other interventions were mostly evaluated in single trials of moderate to very low quality such that the evidence relating to the use of these interventions is inconclusive at present.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 60 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 198 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Norway 1 <1%
Unknown 197 99%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Bachelor 27 14%
Researcher 21 11%
Student > Ph. D. Student 20 10%
Student > Master 12 6%
Unspecified 11 6%
Other 33 17%
Unknown 74 37%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Psychology 38 19%
Medicine and Dentistry 29 15%
Nursing and Health Professions 10 5%
Unspecified 10 5%
Social Sciences 8 4%
Other 24 12%
Unknown 79 40%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 56. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 01 July 2022.
All research outputs
of 22,139,693 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 12,193 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 335,979 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 25 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 22,139,693 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 97th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 12,193 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 29.9. This one has done well, scoring higher than 89% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 335,979 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 95% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 25 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 60% of its contemporaries.