Table 2

Cross-sectional studies: SAB awareness and engagement

Author, year (reference)Number of SAB questionsSAB question/definition used in surveyLifetime prevalence of engaging in SAB % (n)Awareness of others’ engagementFrequency of engagement
Bernadet et al, 2012464*NA9.9 (83)NANA
Besnard and Ponroy 2004448*NA6.7 (13)NASometimes (30.76%), weekly (15.38%), at least once a day (7.69%), no response (47%)†
Bonnelye, 20074514*NA12 (58)*‡28%NA
Brausch et al, 20113§1*See Hillard, 20124916.5 (398)NANA
Center for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), 2008271NA7.4 (467*)NANA
Center for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), 2010471Sometimes kids do risky things to ‘get high’ or to seek thrills. Have you ever been choked by someone or tried to choke yourself on purpose (like with a belt, your hands) for a short time in order to ‘get high’ or feel dizzy?5.3 (482*)NANA
CDC, 2010361The next question refers to the ‘choking game,’ also called knock out, space monkey, flatlining or the fainting game. This is an activity that some youth participate in to get a high by cutting off blood and oxygen to the brain with a belt, towel, rope or other item. Which of the following is true for you?5.7 (442*)30.4%NA
Dake et al, 2010291Have you ever played the choking game (pass-out game, space monkey, dream game)?5 (74) in middle school
11 (223) in high school
NANA
Diaz Jimenez and Valencia 201448>10*NA54 (190)NAOnce (11%), twice (16%), 3 times (26%),4 or more times (47%)†
Hillard, 2012491Have you ever been choked by someone or tried to choke yourself on purpose (like with a belt, cord or your hands) for a short time in order to get high or feel dizzy? (called the ‘choking game’)17.1 (672*) in year 2008
13.4 (526*) in year 2010
NANA
IPSOS, 20125025*Let's talk about this game where you have to hold your breath or stop your breathing. Which class were you in when you heard about this game for the first time?**16 (161*)32%One time only (10%), multiple times (6%), never (84%)
Macnab et al, 2009308*NA6.6 (164)45%NA
Maine Department of Health and Human Services and Maine Department of Education, 2012511Have you ever participated in the choking game or assisted another person to do so?5.1 in middle school
7.4 in high school††,‡‡
NANA
Oregon Health Authority, 2014523This is an activity that some youth participate in to get a high by cutting of blood and oxygen to the brain using a variety of methods. Which of the following is true for you?3.9 (551*), year 8
3.8 (478*), year 11
18.8%, year 8
24.0%, year 11
None (96.5%), 1 time (1.6%), 2 times (0.9%), 3–5 times (0.4%), more than 5 times (0.6%) (year 8)
None (96.5%), one time (1.7%), 2 times (0.6%), 3–5 times (0.6%), more than 5 times (0.6%) (year 11)
Ramowski et al, 2012282The next question refers to the ‘choking game,’ also called knock out, space monkey, flatlining, or the fainting game. This is an activity that some youth participate in to get a high by cutting off blood and oxygen to the brain with a belt, towel, rope or other item. Which of the following is true for you? (Please mark all that apply.)6.1, year 8
7.6, year 11††
22%, year 8
33.6%, year 11
Never (93.9%), 1 time (1.9%), 2 times (1%), 3–5 times (0.9%), more than 5 times (1.4%) (year 8)
Never (91%), 1 time (3.9%), 2 or more times (5.1%) (year 11)
Williams County Family and Children First Council, 2007531*NA11 (40*)NANA
Williams County Family and Children First Council, 2010542*See Dake et al, 2010296 (25*)NANA
  • *Number of students estimated by author based on available information and reported results.

  • †Based on sample of respondents who reported to have engaged in SAB.

  • ‡Investigated engagement in dangerous games, including SAB.

  • §Brausch et al (2011)3 undertakes secondary analysis of Hillard (2012)49 data.

  • ¶Dake et al (2010)29 seems to have incorporated Williams Country Family and Children First Council (2010) data.54

  • **Based on translation of paper.

  • ††Exact number of participants was not able to estimate based on missing sample-size information in study.

  • ‡‡Question asked about ever participation in SAB or assisting another person to engage in SAB.

  • NA, not available; SAB, self-asphyxial behaviour.