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Experience of self-harm and its treatment in looked-after young people: an interpretative phenomenological analysis

Wadman, R.; Armstrong, M.; Clarke, D.; Harroe, C.; Majumder, P.; Sayal, K.; Vostanis, P.; Townsend, E.


R. Wadman

M. Armstrong

D. Clarke

C. Harroe

P. Majumder

Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

P. Vostanis


Objectives: We report the first Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis examination of self-harm and experience of clinical services in young people in the public care system. Methods: Qualitative interviews with 24 looked-after young people. Results: Prevalent themes were 1) Changes in care placement, 2) Feelings of anger, 3) Not wanting/feeling able to talk, 4) Developing coping techniques, 5) Clinical services: A relational mixed bag (subthemes: feeling (i) patronised, not listened to, (ii) nothing being done, (iii) comfortable/able to talk). Conclusions: Placement change and anger were highly salient to self-harm in this group and experiences of clinical services depended on individual relationships with clinicians. Implications include increasing compassion in therapeutic relationships, recognizing and managing emotional dysregulation and increasing support during placement changes.


Wadman, R., Armstrong, M., Clarke, D., Harroe, C., Majumder, P., Sayal, K., …Townsend, E. (in press). Experience of self-harm and its treatment in looked-after young people: an interpretative phenomenological analysis. Archives of Suicide Research, 22(3),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 15, 2015
Online Publication Date Sep 7, 2017
Deposit Date May 25, 2017
Publicly Available Date Sep 8, 2018
Journal Archives of Suicide Research
Print ISSN 1381-1118
Electronic ISSN 1381-1118
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 22
Issue 3
Keywords self-harm; interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA): looked-after young people; adolescence; qualitative methods
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Archives of Suicide Research on 7 September 2017 available online:


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