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Arch Suicide Res. 2018 Dec 11:1-17. doi: 10.1080/13811118.2018.1545713. [Epub ahead of print]

How Do Families Represent the Functions of Deliberate Self-Harm? A Comparison between the Social Representations from Adolescents and Their Parents.

Abstract

Research has recognized the importance of understanding the social representations about the functions of deliberate self-harm, particularly in the context of clinical intervention. In addition, parents can play a relevant role in the rehabilitation of adolescents with these behaviors. However, there are few studies that focused on the description and comparison of the social representations about these functions, particularly in families. This article aimed to analyze the social representations about the functions of deliberate self-harm from adolescents and their parents. We developed two sets of analyses: first we compared the social representations from adolescents without a history of deliberate self-harm and their parents, and secondly we compared the social representations about the functions of deliberate self-harm from adolescents with a history of these behaviors and their parents' social representations. Results revealed significant differences between both groups of families, implying that the groups of participants represent the functions of deliberate self-harm differently. Overall, parents emphasized interpersonal functions and devalued intrapersonal functions. These differences were heightened in the families of adolescents with deliberate self-harm. The present article provides important insights regarding the social representations about the functions of deliberate self-harm and the differences between parents' social representations and their children experiences and social representations.

KEYWORDS:

adolescents; deliberate self-harm; family; functions; parents; social representations

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