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Deliberate self-harm subsequent to the experience of cumulative trauma

Marchetto, Mark Joseph Anthony; (2004) Deliberate self-harm subsequent to the experience of cumulative trauma. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This study examined whether the combination of parental overprotection and selective care during childhood might serve as a risk factor for deliberate self-harm (DSH) in the form of self-cutting/burning behaviours. The extent to which DSH tends to feature predominantly among females, is impulsive, and occurs most often among individuals diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD) was also examined. In addition, potential associations between alcohol consumption and DSH were investigated. Secondary aims of this research were to assess the extent to which alexithymic traits, impaired frustration tolerance and dysfunction in terms of dependency and separation that might arise as a result of this type of dysfunctional parental bonding were characteristic features among self-harmers. Results of the statistical analyses suggest that non-BPD self-harmers recall significantly higher bi-parental overprotection and lower maternal care than matched controls. BPD self-harmers failed to be differentiated from matched controls with regard to recalled maternal or paternal overprotection or care. No significant differences were observed for the gender of the total number of self-harmers referred to the researcher. There was a non-significant majority of self-harmers without a BPD diagnosis. Self-harmers and controls could not be differentiated in terms of their scores for impulsiveness although self-harmers generated scores indicating significantly raised pathology with respect to alexithymia, frustration tolerance and dependency and separation. With regard to alcohol use, BPD self-harmers reported significantly higher levels of alcohol consumption than non-BPD self-harmers and were also significantly more likely to engage in DSH whilst intoxicated. In addition, a significant majority of self-harmers who typically or always engaged in DSH whilst intoxicated were unaware of the impulse to self-harm before becoming intoxicated regardless of diagnosis. The quantitative data was supplemented by the use of case history vignettes. The results are discussed in relation to previous findings and implications for treatment and future research.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Deliberate self-harm subsequent to the experience of cumulative trauma
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Psychology; Self-injury
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10099415
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