Date of Conferral



Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)


Public Health


David Anderson


Adolescents who are depressed may self-injure themselves. Common methods for non-suicidal self-injury are cutting and burning the skin of one’s own body. Multiple confounding factors of age, gender, race and socio-economic status could lead one to engage in intentional or unintentional self-mutilation acts. The current body of literature on adolescent mental health demonstrates limited understanding of how racial and ethnic identity factors contributes to depression, self-injurious behavior, and suicide. This quantitative study determined if there was a relationship between depression and prevalence of adolescent self-mutilation. The social ecological theory was used to study the intersection of social determinants of depression and why depressed adolescents might perform self-mutilation behavior. Data was analyzed from the Web-Based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System for the years 2015 through 2017. Results showed there was no difference in self-mutilation and depression, but there was a difference in racial/ethnicity and self-mutilation among depressed adolescents. It is hoped that the findings of this study will advance the practice of mental health care treatment for adolescents by providing a broader understanding of how racial and ethnic identity, depression, and self-injurious behavior may interact and influence each other. The implications for positive social change are to decrease the prevalence of adolescent depression, acts of self-mutilation, and unintentional suicide by providing adolescents with essential resources to learn new coping skills and build positive relationships.