Presently, there is limited research investigating the addictive nature of self-harm, even though non-suicidal self-injury disorder has been included in the DSM-V (American Psychiatric Association 2013) for over 5 years. The aim of the present study was to build on the existing literature by examining self-harm discussions on Internet message boards to examine if themes related to addiction are present. A sample of 500 online postings from four forums were analysed to examine whether self-harm has an addictive nature. Postings were extracted, read, and re-read before being coded using inductive content analysis to identify themes. Six themes were identified: “Urge/Obsession”, “Relapse”, “Can’t/Don’t want to stop”, “Coping mechanism”, “Hiding/Shame”, and “Getting worse/Not enough”. Postings revealed there can be cravings to engage in self-harm behaviour, not wanting or being able to stop, returning to the behaviour, self-harm being a coping mechanism, shame, and the behaviour becoming worse. This study has demonstrated that repetitive self-harming seems to have addictive aspects.
|Number of pages||16|
|Journal||International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction|
|Publication status||Published - 27 Sep 2018|
- Content analysis