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J Psychiatr Ment Health Nurs. 2007 Feb;14(1):100-5.

Testing the effectiveness of an educational intervention aimed at changing attitudes to self-harm.

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  • 1School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Studies, University of Wales-Bangor, Fron Heulog, Ffriddoedd Road, Bangor, Wales, UK.


Nurses' attitudes toward service users who repeatedly self-harm can be negative and may interfere with the user's willingness to engage with services. The effectiveness of an educational intervention aimed at improving nurses' attitudes in this area was tested in this study. The intervention consisted of attendance on an accredited course on self-harm over a period of 15 weeks and the outcome of interest was attitudes as measured by the Self Harm Antipathy Scale. When deployed in a before-and-after design with two non-randomly allocated groups, there was evidence of a 20% reduction in antipathy toward self-harm among course attenders maintained over a period of at least 18 months (compared with a 9% reduction in a comparison group). Three of the six Self Harm Antipathy Scale attitude dimensions showed significant short-term change with some further long-term effects. This is preliminary evidence for the effectiveness of the chosen intervention in reducing overall antipathy toward self-harm clients and enhancing a sense of competence, a valuing of the care process and an awareness of the factors contributing to self-harm.

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