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Title: Depression, emotion and frustration tolerance in adolescent deliberate self-harm
Author: Hewitt, Christopher J.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2001
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Adolescent deliberate self-harm (DSH) constitutes an important and growing problem for health and welfare services (Harrington & Dyer, 1993). Rates of DSH in 15-24 year olds in the UK between 1989-1992 were among the highest in Europe (WHO/EURO Multicentre Study on Parasuicide). As well as being at a high risk of making a successful suicide attempt, around 15-20% of those admitted to a general hospital following self-harm repeat DSH within a year of the event and approximately 50% have a history of previous DSH (Kreitman & Foster, 1991). Various psychological factors have been reported to be significant in the assessment of the seriousness and/or repetition of DSH. These have included depression, hopelessness, impulsiveness, premeditation, impulsivity, problem duration, problem solving and anger. Hawton et al (1999) found that adolescents with a history of previous overdoses differed from non-repeaters on a number of these factors, although these differences largely disappeared when the level of depression was controlled for. Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) has been used extensively in the treatment of self-harming behaviours. The theory holds that due to a complex interaction of environmental, physiological and familial factors, individuals who engage in DSH may have failed to learn how to tolerate or identify emotional states or feelings of frustration and distress. This theory, however, has not been empirically validated. This study, therefore, aims to investigate the role of emotions and the ability to tolerate feelings of distress and frustration amongst adolescents who have selfharmed. The project also aims to investigate whether these factors may be potential moderators in the repetition of DSH, after the level of depression has been controlled for. This study recruited 45 patients aged between 16-21 years of age who had been admitted to hospital following a deliberate drug overdose. They completed questionnaires measuring depression, their experience of various emotions and distress/frustration tolerance. An age matched, non-self-harming general clinical comparison group was recruited and assessed using the same measures. Interrelationships amongst these factors were examined both between the DSH and non-DSH group, and between first episode DSH and repeat DSH. Results of these comparisons shall be given and discussed with reference to clinical implications.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available