By the same authors

From the same journal

An interpretative phenomenological analysis of the experience of self-harm repetition and recovery in young adults

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Published copy (DOI)


  • Ruth Wadman
  • David Clarke
  • Kapil Sayal
  • Panos Vostanis
  • Marie Armstrong
  • Caroline Harroe
  • Pallab Majumder
  • Ellen Townsend


Publication details

JournalJournal of Health Psychology
DatePublished - 6 Mar 2016
Number of pages11
Original languageEnglish


Six young adults (aged 19-21 years) with repeat self-harm for over 5 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, and 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.

    Research areas

  • Journal Article

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