Self-mutilation on the rise in Britain

The Guardian publishes a report on the alarmingly high rate of teenagers who harm themselves.

Published November 28, 2005 11:30AM (EST)

The Guardian, which last week brought us news about how many people believe rape victims were asking for it, this week cheers us up with word that one in five British girls ages 15-17 has harmed herself.

The Guardian reports on a study published by Britain's Priory, which specializes in treating mental health problems and addictions. The study was based on a survey of 1,000 boys and girls between the ages of 12 and 19.

According to the Guardian, theories about the reasons behind self-harm -- which often takes the form of cutting -- vary, but one doctor speculates that it's because of Britain's "must-have culture." "There is no one telling young people that rewards come to those who wait," Dr. Dylan Griffiths tells the paper. "As a consequence they feel like failures when they don't get things immediately. Cutting yourself may be one way of relieving that tension and also punishing the people, like your parents, who you may feel are not giving you enough support."

By Rebecca Traister

Rebecca Traister writes for Salon. She is the author of "Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women" (Free Press). Follow @rtraister on Twitter.

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