Investigating the "self" in deliberate self-harm

Joanna Adams, K Rodham, J Gavin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Citations (SciVal)


In this study, the authors explored how a group of young people aged 16 to 26 years (who identified themselves as having engaged in deliberate self-harm) made sense of the self by conducting two online focus groups and four e-mail interviews, They analyzed data using interpretive phenomenological analysis. The concept of validation was the primary means of making sense of the self and concerned the desire to be considered legitimate and of worth. This desire was clearly evident across three realms of conflict: (a) the intrinsic or extrinsic self, which marked the distinction between objective fact and subjective opinion; (b) the accepted or denied self, and Q the notion of normality. It is possible that having one's denied self validated online might lead to an exacerbation of an individual's self-harming behavior. Further work is needed to explore the effects of online discussion forums on such taboo forms of behavior.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1293-1309
Number of pages17
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2005

Bibliographical note

ID number: ISI:000233359300002


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