Online Communities for those who Self-Injure: A Description of Members with Implications for Adolescent Health
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Self-injury (SI) is an increasingly common adolescent maladaptive behaviour. Online communities (OCs) for those who SI provide information on recovery, emotional support, and a sense of community to individuals isolated by their behaviour. Sixty-seven individuals who are members of OCs for those who SI responded to ten open-ended questionnaire items posted on two message boards used by members of the community to communicate with other community members. OC members reported a variety of strategies of self-harm. The majority of respondents indicated that they SI in response to emotional distress. Almost 30% reported participating in the OC multiple times each day, almost half reported visiting the community at least once a day. More than half of respondents indicated that their SI decreased in frequency since joining the OC. Improved school-based services for adolescents who SI may include peer-to-peer and school psychologist online support.
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