Research Abstracts: Self Harm

Title: Is “planned ignoring” an ethical response to self-harm?
Author: Quennell, Jaci ; Allison, Elaine
Reference: Ethics and Social Welfare, 1(2), July 2007, pp230-232

The authors, qualified social workers and counsellors, argue that “planned ignoring” is inappropriate to use in situations of self-harm, and should only be used to deal with “harmless attention seeking”.

Title: Young people who self-harm
Author: Young, Robert et al
Reference: British Journal of Psychiatry, 191(7), July 2007, pp44-49

Self-harm among young people in the UK is possibly increasing but little is known about the reasons young people give for cessation and their link with gender or employment status. The aim was to investigate self-harm in young people, prevalence, methods used, motivation for starting and ceasing, service use, and how these are related to gender, parental social class and current labour market position. There was a population-based survey of 1,258 18- to 20-year-olds living in Scotland’s central Clydeside conurbation. Past and current rates of self-harm were highest among those outside the labour market. This group was most likely to want to kill themselves and did not cite specialist mental health services as helpful in ceasing self-harm. Those in full-time education more often self-harmed for a brief time, mainly to reduce anxiety. Current labour market position was a stronger predictor than parental social class or gender for self-harm.

Title: A strengths perspective in working with an adolescent with self-cutting behaviors
Author: Yip, Kam-shing
Reference: Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 23(2), April 2006, pp134-146

The strengths perspective advocates understanding of feelings and meaningfulness behind symptoms, identifying needs, and developing abilities, facilitating interpersonal communication, and building a better social environment for the adolescent client with self-cutting behaviour.

Title: Staff knowledge and attitudes towards deliberate self-harm in adolescents
Author: Crawford, Tanya et al
Reference: Journal of Adolescence, 26(5), October 2003, pp623-633

This study investigates knowledge, attitudes and training needs concerning deliberate self-harm in adolescents. A questionnaire survey was completed by 126 health professionals working with adolescents who harm themselves. The main outcome measures were a knowledge measure and three attitude measures (generated using factor analysis). The mean percentage of correctly answered knowledge questions, across all professional groups, was 60%. With regard to knowledge, more than three-quarters of participants were unaware that gay young men and those who had been sexually abused are at greater risk of deliberate self-harm, while one-third of staff were unaware that adolescents who self-harm are at increased risk of suicide. Staff who felt more effective felt less negative towards this group of patients (B=-0.21, p=0.03). Some 42% of the participants wanted further knowledge about deliberate self-harm among adolescents.


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