Understanding resolution of deliberate self harm: qualitative interview study of patients' experiences.

Sinclair, J; Green, J; (2005) Understanding resolution of deliberate self harm: qualitative interview study of patients' experiences. BMJ (Clinical research ed), 330 (7500). p. 1112. ISSN 0959-8138 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.38441.503333.8F

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OBJECTIVE: To explore the accounts of those with a history of deliberate self harm but who no longer do so, to understand how they perceive this resolution and to identify potential implications for provision of health services. DESIGN: Qualitative in-depth interview study. SETTING: Interviews in a community setting. PARTICIPANTS: 20 participants selected from a representative cohort identified in 1997 after an episode of deliberate self poisoning that resulted in hospital treatment. Participants were included if they had no further episodes for at least two years before interview. RESULTS: We identified three recurrent themes: the resolution of adolescent distress; the recognition of the role of alcohol as a precipitating and maintaining factor in self harm; and the understanding of deliberate self harm as a symptom of untreated or unrecognised illness. CONCLUSION: Patients with a history of deliberate self harm who no longer harm themselves talk about their experiences in terms of lack of control over their lives, either through alcohol dependence, untreated depression, or, in adolescents, uncertainty within their family relationships. Hospital management of deliberate self harm has a role in the identification and treatment of depression and alcohol misuse, although in adolescents such interventions may be less appropriate.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Public Health and Policy > Dept of Health Services Research and Policy
PubMed ID: 15843425
Web of Science ID: 229166900016
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/13481


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