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Title: A qualitative exploration of the meanings and reasons behind self-cutting
Author: O'Sullivan, David Vincent
ISNI:       0000 0004 2709 9389
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2011
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This is a qualitative study into the self-reported reasons and functions behind why people cut themselves. It attempted to achieve a deeper and more insightful understanding of this phenomenon from the perspective of those who engage in this behaviour. Multiple semi-structured interviews were conducted with three community-based adult participants recruited via a self-injury selfhelp group. Each participant was interviewed on four separate occasions and Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was used to analyse the transcripts, producing three detailed and comprehensive case studies. Themes and superordinate themes for each participant were identified. Comparisons of the case studies produced four master themes: ‘A need to atone due to perceived blame and unworthiness’; ‘Avoidant coping – regulating by escaping emotional states’;‘Provides a positive sense of self’; and ‘Secondary reasons - A vicious cycle’. These master themes support current thinking, but the case studies also highlight the diversity of the underlying explanations of these overarching themes. The findings also shed further light on the positive aspects which people appear to get from cutting. Clinical implications and suggestions for future research are considered in view of the findings.
Supervisor: House, A. ; Brennan, C. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available