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Research Topics / Re: Body Modification and Self Harm
« Last post by Taryn on August 14, 2019, 01:52:11 PM »
Hi everyone,

I've finished writing up my study so I've included a copy of a summary of the research below.

I will be sending a more detailed version to an academic journal. Hopefully it will be published so that other researchers can see the findings. I'm also planning to write about using instant messaging to complete interviews in more detail and send this to an academic journal too, as this is a new way of completing interviews.

Thanks for all your interest in this study.

Experiences of Body Modification in Women with Experience of Self-Harm.

This report is a summary of a research study looking at the experiences of body modification (piercings and tattoos) in UK women with experience of self-harm behaviours. The research looked at how these women made sense of the links between self-harm behaviours and body modifications. This report talks about what is already known about these topics, then how the study was done, what was found, and what this means.

What do we already know?
Earlier research has found that self-harm behaviour is linked with a range of mental health difficulties. Self-harm behaviours are linked to a higher risk of suicide. Self-harm behaviour is more common in young adults, especially women. Some people use self-harm behaviour to cope with painful feelings. Self-harm behaviour can be used as a way of telling other people about these feelings.
Self-harm behaviours are similar to body modifications (piercings and tattoos) in some ways. Both self-harm behaviours and body modifications are common in women and younger people. Both self-harm behaviours and body modifications cause damage to the body in some way.
The current advice for coping with self-harm behaviours is that people who use self-harm behaviours could try different, less harmful, ways of doing this if they do not feel that they can stop the self-harm behaviour at the moment. The advice suggests trying things like pinching, squeezing ice or drawing on the skin. Some researchers think that body modifications might be used in place of self-harm behaviours.

Why do this study?
There has not been much research looking at self-harm and body modification behaviours together. The research that has been done has found that for some people who self-harmed by cutting, they stopped this behaviour when they got body piercings. This might mean that the action of getting a piercing could replace the need to self-harm by cutting. So, getting a piercing could be a way to cope with upsetting feelings. That research did not look at why people got the piercings or how they felt about them.
This study wanted to find out how people who had experience of self-harm behaviours felt about getting body modifications. This study wanted to find out what these people thought about the links between these behaviours.

What happened?
A poster about the study was shared in groups on the social media site Facebook that offer support to people who use self-harm behaviours. A page about the study was set up on Facebook with a copy of the poster and more information about the study. Friends of the researcher shared the poster on their personal Facebook pages and on Twitter (another social media site). Mental health charities in the local area and across the UK were emailed and asked to put up a copy of the poster. A post was put on the ‘Research Topics’ board in the discussion forum on the website of the National Self-Harm Network.
Eight women from across the UK took part in the study. They were between the ages of 18 and 45 years old. They talked about their feelings about body modifications and self-harm behaviours with the researcher. They also talked about any links they thought there were between these behaviours. Most of the people that took part talked to the researcher using instant messaging services like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. One person talked to the interviewer on the telephone. Each person talked to the interviewer once.
The researcher looked for important themes that came up in each talk. These were put together with the themes from other talks to make main themes. Themes that came up in lots of the talks might mean that lots of people have similar feelings about these topics. The main themes were linked with what psychologists already know about self-harm behaviours and body modifications.

What was found?
Two main themes came out of the talks: Coping Strategies and Body Modifications as Protective.

Coping Strategies
“I was going through a lot of negative feelings and pain was something that gave me a nice feeling.” – Emma
The women talked about using self-harm behaviours as a way of coping with their feelings. Some of the women said they got body modifications for the same reason. This was sometimes after they had experienced a very upsetting event. They said the self-harm behaviour was a way of controlling and coping with the pain they felt and that it helped to take their minds off other things that were going on.
The themes showed there were some differences between body modifications and self-harm behaviours. The women said their body modifications, especially tattoos, had a meaning for them. They did not say that self-harm behaviours had a meaning. They said they usually thought about getting a body modification before they got one. They said the self-harm behaviour was more often carried out when they felt strong emotions. They did not usually plan to use self-harm behaviours.

Body Modifications as Protective
“I thought I'd self harm but instead of it being cuts and people asking why I did it. I have people complimenting the art I have instead of judging the cuts” – Becky
Most of the women said they got body modifications instead of using self-harm behaviours. Some people said getting body modifications meant that they felt they had less need to use self-harm behaviours to cope with their feelings.
Most of the women said they had the same feelings when they got a body modification as they did when they used self-harm behaviour. Some people said they got body modifications after they decided to stop using self-harm behaviours. These people said it was important that they could feel pain but not cause it themselves.
Getting body modifications might be different to using self-harm behaviours. Getting body modifications could help to lower the urges to use self-harm behaviours. Getting body modifications cannot be thought of as a replacement for self-harm behaviours as there are some differences. For example, people have to pay for body modifications but don’t have to pay when they use self-harm behaviours.
The women said other people reacted in a better way to body modifications than they did to scars from self-harm behaviours. For some of the women the meaning of the body modifications was a reminder of things that were important to them or made them feel good. This might mean getting body modifications makes people feel like they need to use self-harm behaviours less often.

What does this mean?
These findings are important for people who work with people who use self-harm behaviours. If they can see a body modification, they could use this to talk about how the person was feeling when they got it. Getting a new body modification could be a sign that someone is feeling like they want to use self-harm behaviours. They should talk about this together to see if they need more help.

Are there any problems with the study?
All the women said they had experiences of body modification and self-harm behaviours. This was not checked in any way. This might mean that different people were talking about different behaviours.
All the women said they used self-harm by cutting behaviours. Different self-harm behaviours were not talked about or were talked about less often. This might mean the findings from this study do not apply to different self-harm behaviours.
None of the people who took part in this study had more ‘extreme’ body modifications like scarification or sub-dermal implants. People who have these more ‘extreme’ body modifications might have different experiences to those who took part. This means some of the findings from this study might not apply to people with these body modifications.

What next?
More research should be carried out in this area. All the people who took part in this study were women. They might have different experiences to men. More research should look at the experiences men have.
More research should look to see if the findings from this study apply to people with different forms of body modifications. Other research should also look to see if the findings apply to people who use different types of self-harm behaviours.

How will this information be shared?
All the women who took part asked for a copy of this summary. This will be sent to them by email.
A copy of this summary will be posted on the Facebook page for the study. A copy will be posted on the National Self Harm Network website. The Facebook support groups will be contacted to check if they are happy for a copy of this summary to be posted on their page. A copy of the summary will be sent to the charities that helped to tell people about the study so they can share this summary with the people they support.
A written report about the study will be sent to an academic journal. If this is published this will mean other people working in this area will be able to see the findings.
Survivor Room / Re: Br****
« Last post by Rob on August 12, 2019, 09:47:45 AM »
Survivor Room / Re: Br****
« Last post by terrified heart on August 12, 2019, 09:11:33 AM »
A deal?? That’s the first Brexit deal anyone has managed  ::P:
Survivor Room / Re: Br****
« Last post by Skye on August 12, 2019, 08:12:12 AM »
It’s a deal!

Survivor Room / Re: Br****
« Last post by Vermilion on August 12, 2019, 08:02:11 AM »
I think I might also need a  :fryingpan: for my grammar mistake! Their not they're!

I'll bring the whiskey, you bring chocolate and we'll be fine!  :rock:
Survivor Room / Re: Br****
« Last post by Skye on August 12, 2019, 07:49:22 AM »

I'm joking when I say I'm stock piling but I might put a large bottle of whiskey aside just in case North Korea do decide to let they're nukes off...  ::P:

Sound advice  :friday1:
Survivor Room / Re: Br****
« Last post by Vermilion on August 12, 2019, 07:46:18 AM »
All media has it's it's own agenda, even though the claim to be unbiased. Most of the anti Brexshit stories are scaremongering and nothing more, while there may be a small truth to some things, it's blown way out of proportion. An example would be the shortage of NHS nurses; there's always been a shortage with or without Brexshit  due to a lack of funding the Brexshit isn't going to have the huge impact on this that the media would have us believe.

Yes there are people stock piling but there are also people who stockpile because they think lizard people are taking over or that North Korea are about to set off nukes and there are also people who think that the earth is flat and that moon landing was faked. There's always fear mongering and conspiracies, it's just that Brexshit is a lot more visible.

It's also worth remembering that there are plenty of countries who aren't in the EU and they're doing fine and we managed perfectly well without the EU in the past and I think we'll do so again.

I'm joking when I say I'm stock piling but I might put a large bottle of whiskey aside just in case North Korea do decide to let they're nukes off...  ::P:
Survivor Room / Br****
« Last post by Skye on August 12, 2019, 07:09:05 AM »
Sorry to post about the B word. I hear people talk about stick piling and assume most are joking. But this morning I’ve read an article in the Guardian about stockpiling and it being a real thing. I wasn’t going to put things aside but I’m wondering whether I’m burying my head in the side and whether I should start putting a few key bits and pieces away. But what would i even put away and do I really need to? It’s utter crap.
Research Topics / Life After Someone Important Has Died
« Last post by lauradc on August 07, 2019, 02:55:43 PM »
Hello everyone,

We are inviting young people in Scotland to take part in a research study about the impact of a death of someone important to them. The purpose of this study is to better understand the experiences and needs of bereaved young people, and to learn more about how to best support them. 

We would like to speak with individuals aged between 12 - 18 years, who live in Scotland, speak English, and have been bereaved by someone important to them (which happened 6 months ago or more). If you meet the study criteria and wish to take part, you will be asked to:

-   Consent to take part (with your parent’s permission if you are under 16)
-   Share your experiences during a confidential face-to-face interview (40 min)
-   Complete a brief 5 min questionnaire about your experiences with self-harm
-   Take part in an optional card sorting task to tell us about your past self-harm experiences (20 min)

You will receive a £10 shopping voucher as a thank you for your time.

For more information including who we are, why we are doing this research, and what it will involve, or if you would like to take part, please visit: or email:

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Laura del Carpio
(PhD Researcher, University of Strathclyde)

Survivor Room / Re: Scars *SH*
« Last post by Lorien on August 05, 2019, 01:16:09 AM »
Hey Terri,

I'm sorry things are tough at the moment.

I get being worried about a partner being more of a carer. But, I've found that mostly looking out for each other is part of a relationship anyway and that in essence we take a somewhat caring role for each other at different times. The past couple of weeks they have pretty much looked after me, but there are times when I do that too. When it is reciprocal, it doesn't really feel like that. It is probably a bit different in that we met here, so s/h was the first thing we knew about each other. But she has always been accepting of scars and how I feel about them. I think most people have hang ups about their body in some way or other. So respecting where the other is at with that aspect of themselves is part of the territory.

I choose not to show scars in any situation other than at home just the two of us in places where no one would see through a window, but that took a long time. when I lived alone, I wasn't even comfortable unless required - bath/ shower etc.

The DBT sounds good - are you feeling alright about it?

Are there things that you can normally do to switch off from thinking about scars?
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