Skip Page Header

Home > The experience and meaning of repeated self-harm among patients presenting to Irish hospital emergency departments.

Chakraborti, Kasturi and Arensman, Ella and Leahy, Dorothy (2021) The experience and meaning of repeated self-harm among patients presenting to Irish hospital emergency departments. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, Early online, pp. 1-16. doi: 10.1080/01612840.2021.1913681.

BACKGROUND: Self-harm is a global public health concern in terms of increasing morbidity in addition to causing considerable financial implications for the health sector. Patients presenting with a history of self-harm are at increased risk of self-harm repetition and suicide. Research exploring the patient's experience of engaging in multiple self-harm episodes is lacking. This study aimed to explore the experiences and meaning of self-harm repetition, among patients who presented to three urban hospital emergency departments in Ireland.

METHOD: A subset of participants with a history of five or more self-harm attempts from an ongoing study, 'Improving Prediction and Risk Assessment of Self-Harm and Suicide' was selected for this article. Interview transcripts from four participants were selected for analysis using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis.

RESULTS: Data were analysed based on four participants (two males and two females) ranging in age from 25 to 56 years. Three of the four participants reported a history of early traumatic emotional, physical and sexual abuse. Four superordinate themes were generated from the data, '', , and

CONCLUSION: Self-harm was used as a coping mechanism for participants who experienced distressing life events such as emotional and sexual abuse. The qualitative themes identified in this study have implications for the development of adequate medical and mental health support systems for patients with histories of repeated self-harm.


Click here to request a copy of this literature

Repository Staff Only: item control page