Self-Injury in the Schools: An Exploratory Analysis of Midwest School Counselors' Knowledge and Experience

By Kibler, Jackie | North American Journal of Psychology, June 2009 | Go to article overview

Self-Injury in the Schools: An Exploratory Analysis of Midwest School Counselors' Knowledge and Experience


Kibler, Jackie, North American Journal of Psychology


Self-injurious behaviors are not a new phenomenon. Favazza (1988) first studied "self mutilation" after an October 1985 broadcast of the Phil Donahue show discussing self-abuse. Prior to Favazza's research, self-injurious behaviors had been examined within diagnostic criteria for disorders such as borderline personality disorder. Although self-injurious behaviors are one of the criteria for personality disorders, the behavior has been observed in individuals without obvious personality disorders (Crowe & Bunclark, 2000). Favazza (1988) began to examine the phenomenon of self-injury as a stand-alone behavior, but it is only within the past few years that self-injurious behaviors have begun to be examined in non-clinical populations. Ross and Heath (2002, 2003) and Muehlenkamp and Gutierrez (2004) found that youth engaging in self-injury in community samples identified feelings of anxiety, depression, and hostility on self-report measures. However, there was no indication that these youth had been formally diagnosed with any psychiatric disorders.

There now exists a new generation of youth without significant psychiatric issues who self-injure (Derouin & Bravender, 2004; Walsh, 2006). Many youth who fall into the "new generation" appear well adjusted and appear to have supportive networks around them. However, they are turning to self-injury to help cope with the stresses of life.

Within the literature on self-injurious behaviors there is no consensus regarding the definition of self-injury (Best, 2005), and the behavior of self-injury is also labeled differently by researchers (e.g., self-mutilation, non-suicidal self-harm behaviors, self-harm, cutting, etc.). This lack of consistency makes it difficult to gauge the true magnitude of the problem and the treatment considerations. Adding to the issue of scope, many youth who self-injure go unnoticed by others. Best noted that those youth who receive help for self-injury may in fact "constitute only the tip of the iceberg" (2005, p. 277).

For the purpose of this paper, the term self-injury will be used. Walsh (2006) defined four components of self-injury; it is "1) intentional, 2) self-effected, 3) low lethality bodily harm of a socially unacceptable nature, 4) performed to reduce psychological distress" (p. 4). The first component explained that the act of self-injury is intentional; it does not include accidental injury such as cutting oneself while shaving (Walsh). The second component of the definition is that self-injury is self-effected (i.e., injuring oneself or allowing someone else to injure you). In the popular press, Booth (2004) discussed the allure of "cutting clubs" among adolescents, who self-injure with others and may even cut on each other during the process. The third component included the notion that self-injury is a low lethality behavior (i.e., the goal is not to put one's life at risk; Walsh, 2006). A common myth is that self-injurious behaviors are synonymous with suicide. Muehlenkamp and Gutierrez (2007) found that individuals engaging in self-injury were motivated to live, which is in contrast to some individuals with suicidal ideation. Researchers (e.g., Crowe & Bunclark, 2000; Favazza & Conterio, 1989; Zila & Kiselica, 2001) have found enough differences between the behaviors, such as their purpose, to indicate that self-injury is not synonymous with suicide.

The purpose of self-injury is bodily harm or some type of tissue damage that is of a socially unacceptable nature (Walsh, 2006). For example, a popular practice among adolescents is carving words or names on their bodies. Other popular forms of self-injury include scratching, burning, preventing wounds from healing, picking, and hair pulling (Derouin & Bravender, 2004). Young adolescents may self-injure with common items such as pencil erasers (i.e., rubbing the eraser on the skin until it causes injury) or cutting the skin with paper clips or notebook wire. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Self-Injury in the Schools: An Exploratory Analysis of Midwest School Counselors' Knowledge and Experience
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.