An interpretative phenomenological analysis of the experience of self-harm repetition and recovery in young adults
Wadman, Ruth and Clarke, David and Sayal, Kapil and Vostanis, Panos and Armstrong, Marie and Harroe, Caroline and Majumder, Pallab and Townsend, Ellen (2016) An interpretative phenomenological analysis of the experience of self-harm repetition and recovery in young adults. Journal of Health Psychology . pp. 1-11. ISSN 1461-7277
Six young adults (19–21) with repeat self-harm for over five years were interviewed about their self-harm, why they continued and what factors might help them to stop. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis identified six themes: Keeping self-harm private and hidden; Self-harm as self-punishment; Self-harm provides relief and comfort; Habituation and escalation of self-harm; Emotional gains and practical costs of cutting; Not believing they will stop completely. Young adults presented self-harm as an ingrained and purposeful behaviour which they could not stop, despite the costs and risks in early adulthood. Support strategies focused on coping skills, not just eradicating self-harm, are required.
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