Non-suicidal self-harm amongst incarcerated men: a qualitative study

Marzano, Lisa ORCID logoORCID:, Ciclitira, Karen ORCID logoORCID: and Adler, Joanna R. ORCID logoORCID: (2016) Non-suicidal self-harm amongst incarcerated men: a qualitative study. Journal of Criminal Psychology, 6 (4) . pp. 157-172. ISSN 2009-3829 [Article] (doi:10.1108/JCP-04-2016-0017)

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Purpose: To further understanding of the needs and motivations of incarcerated men who self-harm with no apparent suicidal intent. These have received little attention in research and policy, despite men accounting for a high and increasing proportion of self-harm in prisons.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 adult male prisoners with a recent history or thoughts of non-suicidal self-harm. The interviews were analysed drawing on principles of thematic analysis and discourse analysis.

Findings: Against a backdrop of early traumatic experiences and more recent adverse events (including prison-related ones), self-harm was described by many as a desperate - but meaningful – coping strategy; both a means of releasing tension, sadness and frustration, and of being heard in an unresponsive system.

Value: These findings echo those of research conducted with women (including women prisoners) who self-harm, but challenge some of the more negative ways in which non-suicidal male prisoner self-harm has been portrayed in the (scant) previous literature. As well as pointing to the need for greater awareness of the complex needs of men in prisons, they underscore the importance of (also) exploring - and perhaps addressing - the issue of self-harm separately from suicide, and of striving to make prisons, as well as prisoners, ‘healthier’ and better able to cope with pressure.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Special Issue: Self-harm and suicidal behaviour in forensic settings
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
Item ID: 20460
Notes on copyright: © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited. This AAM is provided for your own personal use only. It may not be used for resale, reprinting, systematic distribution, emailing, or for any other commercial purpose without the permission of the publisher
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Depositing User: Lisa Marzano
Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2016 11:31
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 21:28

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