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BACKGROUND:   Adolescents in the Looked After Care (LAC) system demonstrate high rates of psychiatric disorder and self-harm; however, there is little evidence for therapies reducing self-harm in this population. METHOD:   An open evaluation of DBT for adolescents with repeated serious self-harm in the LAC system was undertaken. RESULTS:   An intention-to-treat (ITT) analysis showed that DBT was successful at reducing the core elements of depression, hopelessness and self-harm; however, 35% (7/20) failed to engage. CONCLUSION:   DBT is a useful treatment option; the failure, however, of some adolescents to engage in therapy may be due to their higher initial rates of depression and hopelessness.

Original publication




Journal article


Child Adolesc Ment Health

Publication Date





9 - 13


Dialetic behavioural therapy (DBT), Looked After Care system (LAC), adolescence