Every scar tells a story : the meaning of adolescent self-injury

Ridgway, Melissa Joy (2013-03)

Thesis (MEdPsych)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Bibliography

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In recent years there has been an expanse in the literature that is drawing attention to selfinjury and research studies indicate that self-injurious behaviour is prevalent in the age group of thirteen to fifteen years. Although it remains unclear, whether the increased focus on self-injury is due to a greater amount of adolescents who engage in self-injury, or whether it is due to more young people identifying themselves as self-injurers, it has now become an integral component of adolescent behaviour that teachers, parents and other significant role players have to be knowledgeable about, as the likelihood that they will encounter self-injury amongst a young adolescent population is on the increase. As research studies in this arena have been mostly of a quantitative nature and have focused predominately on psychiatric populations, there was a gap in the research to contribute to the limited qualitatively generated knowledge base on self-injury. In this study, a narrative inquiry design was used to make sense of the stories of self-injury that the participants told. Four adolescent girls between the ages of fourteen and seventeen years with no history of mental illness and who were not receiving psychiatric or psychological intervention or showed significant levels of anxiety or depressive symptoms, were selected for the study. Two interviews were conducted with each girl using the fish bowl game and the memory box making to explore their stories of self-injury. The findings of this study suggest that cutting behaviour has purpose in the lives of the girls who participated in this study. Apart from having meaning in their lives, cutting behaviour also served to fulfill various functions, depending on the kind of problem and feelings that would be experienced in that moment. These functions ranged from providing relief, to being a form of punishment, to being a temptation, to becoming a comforting habit and a way to feel alive again.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Oor die afgelope paar jaar is daar ‘n toename in die literatuur wat handel oor selfbesering en navorsingstudies dui daarop dat die voorkoms van selfbeserende gedrag veral ‘n faktor is in die ouderdomsgroep tussen dertien en vyftien jaar. Dit is egter steeds onbekend of die toenemende fokus op selfbeserende gedrag toegeskryf kan word aan ‘n toename in die voorkoms van selfbesering en of dit eerder toegeskryf kan word aan meer jong mense wat hulself identifiseer as selfbeseerders. Hoe dit ookal sy, selfbesering is tans 'n integrale komponent van adolessente gedrag en om hierdie rede is dit 'n noodsaaklikheid dat onderwysers, ouers en ander belanghebbende rolspelers kennis moet dra daaroor omdat die waarskynlikheid dat hulle sulke gedrag sal teëkom, onder 'n jong adolessente populasie, aan die toeneem is. Aangesien navorsingstudies binne hierdie veld hoofsaaklik kwantitatief van aard is, is daar 'n leemte m.b.t. navorsing wat kan bydra tot die klein hoeveelheid kwalitatiewe studies wat wel al gedoen is. In hierdie studie, is 'n narratieweondersoekontwerp gekies omdat die studie wou sin maak van die stories van selfbesering wat die deelnemers vertel het. Vier adolessente meisies tussen die ouderdom van veertien en sewentien jaar het aan die studie deelgeneem wat geen geskiedenis van geestessiekte gehad het nie en ook nie ten tyde van die ondersoek psigiatriese of sielkundige intervensie ontvang het nie. Die deelnemers moes verder ook geen betekenisvolle hoë vlakke van angs of depressie getoon het nie. Twee onderhoude is met elke deelnemer gevoer waartydens die Visbak speletjie (Fish Bowl game) en 'n Herrinneringdosie (Memory Box) gebruik is om die meisies se stories van selfbesering te ontgin. Die bevindinge van hierdie studie stel voor dat snygedrag 'n besliste funksie in die lewens van die deelnemers gehad het. Buiten die feit dat snygedrag vir hulle betekenisvol was, het snygedrag ook verskeie funksies vervul wat hoofsaaklik afgehang het van die tipe probleem en die emosies wat daarmee gepaard gegaan het. Snyfunksies het gewissel van 'n manier om verligting te kry, 'n manier om die self te straf, 'n vertroostende gewoonte en 'n manier om weer iets te kan voel.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/80093
This item appears in the following collections: