Perceptions of undergraduate students who self-harm: Attitudes towards their behavior and treatment considerations
Although deliberate self-harm (DSH) behavior has been found to occur at alarming rates among university students (e.g., Klonsky & Glenn, 2009), students' attitudes towards their behavior have been neglected in extant literature. The present study examined university students' beliefs about their self-harm behavior, their perceived need for treatment for self-harm, the relative acceptability for various types of treatment for self-harm, and comorbidity of mental health problems among students who self-harm. Students with a history of DSH ( N = 495) were recruited from multiple disciplines to complete self-report measures assessing attitudes and beliefs about DSH. Students neither perceived DSH to be problematic [m = 2.19; 1 (strongly disagree) – 7 (strongly agree)] nor endorsed a need for psychological treatment for their self-harm behavior (m = 2.20). Participants agreed most strongly with the statement “If I wanted to stop self-harming, I could stop on my own” (m = 4.62). Multiple regression found types of DSH (β = .10, p < .05), belief that DSH is problematic (β = .45, p < .001), comorbidity (β = .14, p < .05), and the automatic reinforcement function (β = .14, p < .05) predicted to greater perceived need for treatment. Social support (m = 3.81) was rated as the most acceptable type of support/treatment, followed by individual counseling (m = 3.5) and online resources (m = 3.21). The vast majority of the sample screened positive for at least one psychiatric disorder (n = 305, 84.1%), and the average number of diagnostic categories for which students screened positive was 3.3. The diagnostic category with the highest number of positive screens was Social Phobia (n = 195, 53.1%), followed by Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (n =138, 37.6%), and Somatization (n = 124, 34%). These novel findings further our understanding of university students' perceptions of their DSH behavior and have important implications for interventions.^
Health Sciences, Mental Health|Psychology, Clinical
Alexis N Lamb,
"Perceptions of undergraduate students who self-harm: Attitudes towards their behavior and treatment considerations"
Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access).