Recent studies have revealed a high rate of nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) behavior in Chinese students, but quantitative syntheses of pooled prevalence are sparse. There have been several NSSI prevalence meta-analyses in other populations. However, given the existence of cultural diversity, racial difference, educational system difference and so on, these results may not be ideal for Chinese populations. Furthermore, the above-mentioned meta-analyses did not include Chinese database which may have led to unintentional bias. Thus, we conducted this meta-analysis to estimate the prevalence of NSSI in Chinese middle-school students.
The databases searched included PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, CBM (Chinese database), Chinese National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), Wanfang Data (Chinese database) and the Weipu database (Chinese database). The search terms included: self-injury/self-harm/self-abuse/nonsuicidal self-injury/deliberate self-harm, adolescen*/youth/teen/students, and China/Chinese. All relevant articles published between January 2000 to November 2017, in either Chinese or English, were included. Two investigators were engaged in this process, and any disagreements were settled by a third investigator. A random effects model was then used to calculate the pooled prevalence.
A total of 420 studies with 160,348 participants were retrieved. The pooled prevalence was 22.37% (95% CI: 18.84%–25.70%). Substantial heterogeneity in prevalence estimates was revealed. Subgroup analyses showed that the pooled estimate of prevalence of life time NSSI was 14.5% (95%CI: 0.06%–22.7%), and 6–24 months NSSI was23.3% (95%CI: 20.5%–26.1%). The prevalence for males was 20.6% (95% CI: 16.1%–25.0%), and for females was 21.9% (95% CI: 17.6%–26.2%).
The prevalence of NSSI in Chinese middle-school students is relatively high. More attention should be paid to the current situation.