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Title: The psychological functions of online self-injury forums
Author: Nokling, Kirsten
ISNI:       0000 0004 5922 8448
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2016
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The use of the internet over the past decade has played a strong role in several areas of mental health, including the provision of informal peer support forums in which individuals can discuss specific difficulties anonymously. Self-injury is also a topic which has received far greater recognition over the past decade, with research studies reporting prevalence rates of between 4-25% of the adult population and between 22-35% of the college and university population. The current study investigates the use of a self-injury online forum in order to develop a psychological understanding of the functions that this forum provides to its users. This study employed a grounded theory qualitative methodology to analyse the data collected from an online forum across a 5-month period. The results revealed three core categories: i) human contact; ii) battling self-injury; and iii) being helpful – giving advice/ tangible help. The results suggest that a good deal of ‘therapeutic support’ occurs within exchanges on the forum, with possible benefits both for those receiving and for those giving support and advice. The findings highlighted some important considerations for clinical practice and, more specifically, for the role that clinical psychologists can have in developing services specifically to meet the needs of this client group. The findings are reviewed within the context of the current literature, and implications for service development and service delivery are discussed. Suggestions are made for how services might be able to encourage the use of safe and high quality online therapeutic support on a 24 hour basis to supplement live support by health professionals. Keywords: Self-injury, online internet forums, grounded theory, therapeutic support, peer support.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology ; HM Sociology