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    Risk Factors for Self-Harm: Narratives from a Sample of Young People in Northern Ireland

    Pollock, Elaine and O’Shea, Johanna and Killick, Campbell (2021) Risk Factors for Self-Harm: Narratives from a Sample of Young People in Northern Ireland. Child Care in Practice, 27 (2). pp. 139-154. ISSN 1357-5279

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    Self-harm continues to be a growing concern within adolescence and is a globally recognised public health and social problem. Adolescents living in the community who self-harm are extremely common however less is known about these young people. This study focussed on capturing the voice of young people who engage in cutting behaviour to provide insight into the risks associated with this phenomenon. Single semi-structured interviews were conducted with 9 adolescents aged 16–18 years who lived within one Trust area in Northern Ireland. Thematic analysis was applied to the transcribed interviews in which themes emerged. The three subordinate themes of onset, persistence and ending of the behaviour encompassed six sub-themes which were further identified as risk factors for the behaviour. Risk factors identified were: ACE’s, poor relationships and difficulties in support networks, exposure to self-harm, psychological issues, “addiction” to self-harm, concealment of harming behaviour—to control and professional and peer support that helps or hinders. These factors support the current literature base however individual and diverse explanations are highlighted which provide further depth, particularly around the concept of addiction and support that hinders young people. Despite the small nature of the study, recommendations for social work practice, clinical practice and other relevant professional practice as well as future research are considered in view of the findings. Key direction outlines the importance of building trusting relationships, continuity of care and continuing to listen to young people as vital to the helping relationship.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Self-harm; adolescence; risk factors; social work; young people; cutting; behaviour; voice of child;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Applied Social Studies
    Item ID: 16082
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Johanna O' Shea
    Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2022 11:05
    Journal or Publication Title: Child Care in Practice
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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