Reading between the lines: The stories of young adults experience with the onset and persistence of self-harm behaviour

  • Author / Creator
    York, Mandy L.
  • Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) is a prevalent and serious issue in adolescent populations. There is limited research investigating the phenomenon of NSSI from the individual's perspective. This study explored how young adults began self-harming as adolescents and how the behaviour progressed for them. The aim of the study is to elucidate an understanding of NSSI from the perspective of the self-injurer. Eleven young adults with a history of NSSI were invited to tell their stories. Transcripts were analyzed using a narrative research approach (Emden, 1988b) and a story was re-created for each participant. Transcripts and stories were also analyzed across participants and four major themes were uncovered: adverse circumstances in childhood, emotions, sense of self, and function. Self-harm was used as a form of behaviour management and as a mechanism to reduce or eliminate what was perceived to be a less desirable behaviour. This is one of the first known studies to use narrative research methodology to investigate the origins and progression of self-harm behaviour in adolescents. Implications for addressing NSSI are discussed.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
    • Department of Educational Psychology
  • Specialization
    • Counselling Psychology
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Dr. Robin Everall (Associate Dean of Students)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Dr. Rosemary Foster (Educational Policy Studies), Dr. Jude Spiers (Nursing),
    • Dr. Randolf Wimmer (Educational Policy Studies)
    • Dr. Robert Frender (Retired)