Umea University, Sweden
Scientific Tracks Abstracts: J Psychol Psychother
Self-injuring acts, the intentional destruction of body tissue without suicidal intent, has become frequent among adolescents in the community. Most often those acts are seen as associated with intrapersonal traits such as deviant emotionality or psychopathology. Few studies have researched the social context of the large group of adolescents who self-injure but do not present in clinical settings. Accordingly, in research, there has been limited opportunity for those outside clinical settings to describe experiences on self-injuring acts and its social contextual framing. In my research, I have turned to Internet published narratives written by young people who self-injure. Such personal stories give voice to those who are seldom visible in research or in clinical settings. By listening to young people’s own narratives of experiences of self-injuring acts, a quite different picture than that traditionally shown in research emerges. Lessons from those young people’s own narratives are that their self-injuring acts are closely related to problems in the social context and seem to be a reaction to lack of support from adults and a response to difficult everyday situations. In order to enhance the understanding of self-injuring acts, it is of utmost importance to stop focusing on individual personality traits and instead explore the social contextual framing of self-injuring acts.
Inger Ekman is a Social Worker with a Master’s degree in Social Science. She lectures on Social Work and carries out her Doctoral studies at the Department of Social Work and Umea Center for Gender Studies, Umea University, Sweden.
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