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Using photo-elicitation to understand reasons for repeated self-harm: a qualitative study

Authors
  • Edmondson, Amanda J.1
  • Brennan, Cathy2
  • House, Allan O.2
  • 1 University of Huddersfield, Centre for Applied Research in Health, School of Human and Health Sciences, Queensgate, Huddersfield, HD1 3DH, UK , Huddersfield (United Kingdom)
  • 2 University of Leeds, Institute of Health Sciences, School of Medicine, 101 Clarendon Rd, Leeds, LS2 9LJ, UK , Leeds (United Kingdom)
Type
Published Article
Journal
BMC Psychiatry
Publisher
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
Apr 11, 2018
Volume
18
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1186/s12888-018-1681-3
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Green

Abstract

BackgroundReasons for self-harm are not well understood. One of the reasons for this is that first-hand accounts are usually elicited using traditional interview and questionnaire methods. This study aims to explore the acceptability of using an approach (photo-elicitation) that does not rely on solely verbal or written techniques, and to make a preliminary assessment of whether people can usefully employ images to support a discussion about the reasons why they self-harm.MethodInterviews with eight participants using photo elicitation, a method in which photographs produced by the participant are used as a stimulus and guide within the interview.ResultsParticipants responded positively to using images to support a discussion about their self-harm and readily incorporated images in the interview. Four main themes were identified representing negative and positive or adaptive purposes of self-harm: self-harm as a response to distress, self-harm to achieve mastery, self-harm as protective and self-harm as a language or form of communication.ConclusionsEmploying this novel approach was useful in broadening our understanding of self-harm.

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