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J Adolesc. 2019 Jun;73:113-121. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2019.05.001. Epub 2019 May 20.

Social representations about the functions of deliberate self-harm: Adolescents and parents.

Author information

1
CIE-ISPA, ISPA - Instituto Universitário, Rua Jardim do Tabaco 34, 1149-041, Lisboa, Portugal. Electronic address: psi.eva@hotmail.com.
2
CIE-ISPA, ISPA - Instituto Universitário, Rua Jardim do Tabaco 34, 1149-041, Lisboa, Portugal. Electronic address: mpereira@ispa.pt.
3
CIPsi - Psychology Research Center, Victims, Offenders and Justice System Research Unit, School of Psychology, University of Minho, Campus de Gualtar, 4710-057, Braga, Portugal. Electronic address: hugo.santos.gomes@gmail.com.
4
Faculty of Medicine, University of Lisbon, Avenida Professor Egas Moniz, 1649-028, Lisboa, Portugal. Electronic address: d.sampaio@netcabo.pt.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

The understanding of the social representations about the functions of deliberate self-harm can be an important factor for the comprehension of this phenomenon. Nonetheless, only a few studies focused on this topic and specifically on the social representations from adolescents with and without a history of deliberate self-harm and their parents.

METHODS:

This article presents two studies that analysed these representations. Study 1 compared the social representations from 411 Portuguese adolescents (219 females and 192 males, aged 12-19 years), from which 109 reported having a history of deliberate self-harm. Study 2 focused on the comparison of the social representations from 471 parents (265 mothers and 206 fathers, aged 33-62 years) of Portuguese adolescents. Of the parents in Study 2, 120 had children with a history of deliberate self-harm.

RESULTS:

In Study 1, adolescents without a history of deliberate self-harm perceived most interpersonal functions as more relevant than adolescents with a history of these behaviours, while adolescents with a history of deliberate self-harm emphasized one intrapersonal function. In Study 2, no differences were found between parents of adolescents with and without a history of deliberate self-harm. However, results revealed differences between the representations of mothers and fathers in several intrapersonal functions.

CONCLUSIONS:

This research provides important insight regarding the social representations about the functions of deliberate self-harm from adolescents with and without a reported history of these behaviours and their parents. The impact for clinical intervention and prevention programs is discussed.

KEYWORDS:

Adolescents; Deliberate self-harm; Functions; Parents; Representations

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