“My heart and my brain is what's bleeding, These are just cuts.” An interpretative phenomenological analysis of young women's experiences of self-harm

Norman, Hilary, Marzano, Lisa, Oskis, Andrea and Coulson, Mark (2022) “My heart and my brain is what's bleeding, These are just cuts.” An interpretative phenomenological analysis of young women's experiences of self-harm. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 13. ISSN 1664-0640

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Engagement in self-harm, defined as intentional self-poisoning or self-injury irrespective of the apparent purpose of the act, is increasing, particularly among girls and young women. Understanding the behavior from the perspective of those who self-harm is, therefore, vital in designing effective interventions and treatments. The current brief research report presents a key theme from an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of the experience of self-harm among eight young women, aged between 18 and 29. The theme Is Self-Harm Bad? concerns the way in which participants both acknowledged and resisted a negative conception of self-harm that was often constructed from other people's attitudes. Three subthemes explore the reasons why participants were reluctant to endorse self-harm as bad: Self-Harm is the Symptom, Self-Harm Works (Until it Doesn't) and Self-Harm is Part of Me. The findings highlight the disparity between the characterization of self-harm as a highly risky behavior and the lived experience of self-harm as a functional means of emotion regulation. From a clinical perspective, the findings explored in this brief report suggest that highlighting the risks of self-harm may not be a sufficient deterrent. The recently revised draft National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance recommends that everyone presenting to hospital following self-harm should be given a comprehensive psychosocial assessment, of which the function is, in part, to understand why the person has self-harmed. The current study underlines the importance of seeing past the behavior to the underlying causes and exploring the meaning of self-harm to the individual in order to implement effective preventative interventions.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: interpretative phenomenological analysis (ipa),qualitative,self-harm,stigma,suicide,psychiatry and mental health,sdg 3 - good health and well-being ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/2700/2738
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Related URLs:
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2022 09:35
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2023 04:28
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/89006
DOI: 10.3389/fpsyt.2022.914109


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