Looked after children's experiences of self-harm : a qualitative analysis

Rouski, Charlene and Sellwood, Bill (2017) Looked after children's experiences of self-harm : a qualitative analysis. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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Adolescent self-harm is a growing international concern. As the parent-child relationship and parental support can influence adolescent self-harm this review aimed to synthesise existing qualitative research on parents’ experiences of young people who selfharm. A systematic search of electronic databases was conducted, identifying 15 qualitative papers for the metasynthesis. Five concepts emerged: the turmoil of discovery and beyond; searching for certainty; the ultimate blame; vigilant parenting: treading carefully; and the ripple effect. Findings demonstrated the impact of adolescent self-harm on parental wellbeing, the challenges of understanding self-harm and how this behaviour influenced their ability to support their child. This understanding provides a framework for clinical services to offer support to parents of young people who self-harm. The second section of the thesis is the empirical paper. The aim of this research was to understand the experiences of young people who engage in self-harm whilst living in residential care. Five young people participated in semi structured interviews. Using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis, four themes were identified: ‘The black hole of selfharm’, ‘Seeking genuine care through a protective mask’, ‘The cry to be understood’ and ‘Loss of control to the system’. Young people who self-harm in residential care are exposed to new experiences, boundaries and support networks, all of which can influence their selfharming behaviours. Clinical implications and future research recommendations are also discussed. Finally, the critical appraisal captures the journey throughout this research, including why the topics were chosen, the challenges with recruitment and reflections on the research process as a whole.

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Thesis (PhD)
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23 Aug 2017 09:08
Last Modified:
28 Nov 2023 10:52