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Title: Interpersonal processes and emotions in non-suicidal self-injury : shame, guilt and help-seeking
Author: Sheehy, K.
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2018
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The overarching aim of the current thesis was to examine the role of psychological factors in the experience of non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI). Specifically, this included consideration of the factors associated with NSSI, namely, shame and guilt, as well as an examination of those factors affecting help-seeking amongst individuals who have NSSI. This brief prefatory chapter presents an introduction to the topic area of NSSI and its relevance to clinical psychology. Following this, an overview of the thesis chapters is provided. NSSI is a growing problem worldwide (Geulayov et al., 2016) and is associated with significant emotional and economic costs (Arbuthnott & Lewis, 2015; Tsiachristas et al., 2017). The term NSSI refers to an act of deliberate destruction of one's own body tissue, in the absence in suicidal intentions (Nock, Joiner, Gordon, Lloyd-Richardson & Prinstein, 2006), and is used to describe a range of behaviours, such as cutting or carving skin, selfbattery, and burning (Barrocas, Hankin, Young & Abela, 2012). Whilst NSSI constitutes a clinical problem in its own right (Wilkinson & Goodyer, 2011), it is also associated with suicidal thinking and behaviour, with the two commonly co-occurring (Andover, Morris, Wren & Bruzzese, 2012). Consequently, there is a need to further understand the psychological processes that underpin NSSI, to enable the development of effective approaches to prevention and treatment. Theoretical accounts suggest a variety of pathways by which NSSI may emerge (Nock, 2009). A number of these accounts highlight the potential role of aversive emotional experiences as precipitants to NSSI (Chapman, Gratz & Brown, 2006; Nock, 2009). This is supported by empirical investigations of the functions of NSSI. Findings suggest that escape from negative or unwanted emotions is the most frequently cited reason for engaging in NSSI (Klonsky, 2011; Taylor et al., 2018). However, less is known about the role of specific emotional states, in particular, self-directed emotions such as shame and guilt. Chapter one therefore presents a systematic review of the literature regarding the associations between shame, guilt, and NSSI. Following this, chapter two presents an empirical investigation of the factors that underpin help-seeking amongst individuals who have NSSI. Despite its links with psychological distress, a significant proportion of individuals with NSSI do not seek or receive any help (Rowe et al., 2014). A number of interventions are emerging for NSSI (Turner, Austin & Chapman, 2014). However, for these to be effective, individuals must first seek help. Chapter two therefore sought to investigate the factors that predict help-seeking amongst individuals with NSSI. In extension of the available literature, this study used a longitudinal design to shed light on predictors of help-seeking over time. It is worth noting that the empirical study described herein was conducted as part of a wider project with another trainee clinical psychologist. Consequently, the study documentation (e.g., ethical approval documents) included in the appendices relate to the wider study, of which the empirical paper presented in this thesis is a part.
Supervisor: Taylor, Peter ; Pontin, Eleanor Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral