A prospective study of self-poisoning and self-injury in the Oxford area for 1972-73 and a retrospective study for 1969 has shown the following: (a) The number of admissions to a general hospital following self-poisoning and self-injury has increased by approximately 45% in 3 1/2 years. The increase is more marked in women than in men. (b) When compared with a previous study the incidence in Oxford city has quadrupled in ten years. (c) A total of 74% of men and 67% of women, aged 16 years and over, harming themselves in this way are under the age of 35 years. The repetitiveness is increasing and the proportion of those repeating the attempt was 10% within three months, and 15% within six months. (d) The rates are exceptionally high for teenage wives and single, widowed, and divorced women aged between 24-35 years. Single men show exceptionally high rates in the 35-45 year age group. (e) With the exception of married women aged between 25 and 34 years and women over 60, the rates were higher in urban than in rural areas. (f) In men the rates were higher among personal service workers, semi-skilled manual and unskilled manual workers. In women the rates were highest among non-manual, ancillary to professional (especially nurses), and semi-skilled manual workers. Male students had rates much lower than those of their age group, while female students had rates about the same as their age group. The lowest rates were among professional and 'own account' workers.
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