Non-suicidal reasons for self-harm: A systematic review of self-reported accounts

Amanda J. Edmondson, Cathy A. Brennan, Allan O. House

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

29 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background Self-harm is a major public health problem yet current healthcare provision is widely regarded as inadequate. One of the barriers to effective healthcare is the lack of a clear understanding of the functions self-harm may serve for the individual. The aim of this review is to identify first-hand accounts of the reasons for self-harm from the individual's perspective. Method A systematic review of the literature reporting first-hand accounts of the reasons for self-harm other than intent to die. A thematic analysis and 'best fit' framework synthesis was undertaken to classify the responses. Results The most widely researched non-suicidal reasons for self-harm were dealing with distress and exerting interpersonal influence. However, many first-hand accounts included reasons such as self-validation, and self-harm to achieve a personal sense of mastery, which suggests individuals thought there were positive or adaptive functions of the act not based only on its social effects. Limitations Associations with different sub-population characteristics or with the method of harm were not available from most studies included in the analysis. Conclusions Our review identified a number of themes that are relatively neglected in discussions about self-harm, which we summarised as self-harm as a positive experience and defining the self. These self-reported "positive" reasons may be important in understanding and responding especially to repeated acts of self-harm.

LanguageEnglish
Pages109-117
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Volume191
Early online date28 Nov 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Delivery of Health Care
Population Characteristics
Public Health

Cite this

@article{089770a27e48499d9f98d8686145d2e5,
title = "Non-suicidal reasons for self-harm: A systematic review of self-reported accounts",
abstract = "Background Self-harm is a major public health problem yet current healthcare provision is widely regarded as inadequate. One of the barriers to effective healthcare is the lack of a clear understanding of the functions self-harm may serve for the individual. The aim of this review is to identify first-hand accounts of the reasons for self-harm from the individual's perspective. Method A systematic review of the literature reporting first-hand accounts of the reasons for self-harm other than intent to die. A thematic analysis and 'best fit' framework synthesis was undertaken to classify the responses. Results The most widely researched non-suicidal reasons for self-harm were dealing with distress and exerting interpersonal influence. However, many first-hand accounts included reasons such as self-validation, and self-harm to achieve a personal sense of mastery, which suggests individuals thought there were positive or adaptive functions of the act not based only on its social effects. Limitations Associations with different sub-population characteristics or with the method of harm were not available from most studies included in the analysis. Conclusions Our review identified a number of themes that are relatively neglected in discussions about self-harm, which we summarised as self-harm as a positive experience and defining the self. These self-reported {"}positive{"} reasons may be important in understanding and responding especially to repeated acts of self-harm.",
keywords = "Function, Non suicidal, Self-harm, Systematic review",
author = "Edmondson, {Amanda J.} and Brennan, {Cathy A.} and House, {Allan O.}",
year = "2016",
month = "2",
doi = "10.1016/j.jad.2015.11.043",
language = "English",
volume = "191",
pages = "109--117",
journal = "Journal of Affective Disorders",
issn = "0165-0327",
publisher = "Elsevier",

}

Non-suicidal reasons for self-harm : A systematic review of self-reported accounts. / Edmondson, Amanda J.; Brennan, Cathy A.; House, Allan O.

In: Journal of Affective Disorders, Vol. 191, 02.2016, p. 109-117.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

TY - JOUR

T1 - Non-suicidal reasons for self-harm

T2 - Journal of Affective Disorders

AU - Edmondson, Amanda J.

AU - Brennan, Cathy A.

AU - House, Allan O.

PY - 2016/2

Y1 - 2016/2

N2 - Background Self-harm is a major public health problem yet current healthcare provision is widely regarded as inadequate. One of the barriers to effective healthcare is the lack of a clear understanding of the functions self-harm may serve for the individual. The aim of this review is to identify first-hand accounts of the reasons for self-harm from the individual's perspective. Method A systematic review of the literature reporting first-hand accounts of the reasons for self-harm other than intent to die. A thematic analysis and 'best fit' framework synthesis was undertaken to classify the responses. Results The most widely researched non-suicidal reasons for self-harm were dealing with distress and exerting interpersonal influence. However, many first-hand accounts included reasons such as self-validation, and self-harm to achieve a personal sense of mastery, which suggests individuals thought there were positive or adaptive functions of the act not based only on its social effects. Limitations Associations with different sub-population characteristics or with the method of harm were not available from most studies included in the analysis. Conclusions Our review identified a number of themes that are relatively neglected in discussions about self-harm, which we summarised as self-harm as a positive experience and defining the self. These self-reported "positive" reasons may be important in understanding and responding especially to repeated acts of self-harm.

AB - Background Self-harm is a major public health problem yet current healthcare provision is widely regarded as inadequate. One of the barriers to effective healthcare is the lack of a clear understanding of the functions self-harm may serve for the individual. The aim of this review is to identify first-hand accounts of the reasons for self-harm from the individual's perspective. Method A systematic review of the literature reporting first-hand accounts of the reasons for self-harm other than intent to die. A thematic analysis and 'best fit' framework synthesis was undertaken to classify the responses. Results The most widely researched non-suicidal reasons for self-harm were dealing with distress and exerting interpersonal influence. However, many first-hand accounts included reasons such as self-validation, and self-harm to achieve a personal sense of mastery, which suggests individuals thought there were positive or adaptive functions of the act not based only on its social effects. Limitations Associations with different sub-population characteristics or with the method of harm were not available from most studies included in the analysis. Conclusions Our review identified a number of themes that are relatively neglected in discussions about self-harm, which we summarised as self-harm as a positive experience and defining the self. These self-reported "positive" reasons may be important in understanding and responding especially to repeated acts of self-harm.

KW - Function

KW - Non suicidal

KW - Self-harm

KW - Systematic review

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84949257305&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.jad.2015.11.043

DO - 10.1016/j.jad.2015.11.043

M3 - Review article

VL - 191

SP - 109

EP - 117

JO - Journal of Affective Disorders

JF - Journal of Affective Disorders

SN - 0165-0327

ER -