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Do Internet self-harm discussion groups alleviate or exacerbate self-harming behaviour?

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>12/2006
<mark>Journal</mark>Australian e-Journal for the Advancement of Mental Health (AeJAMH)
Issue number3
Volume5
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)1-9
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

The Internet has proved a popular medium for persons with a variety of health-related complaints to provide one another with information and mutual support. However, although there are currently hundreds of Internet discussion groups dedicated to the issue of self-harm, there is disagreement as to whether these groups exacerbate or help alleviate self-harming behaviour. The present study sought to explore possible positive and negative aspects of membership of a self-harm discussion group. Members of one self-harm discussion group (n=102) completed a web-based questionnaire. The findings indicated that the majority of respondents viewed the discussion group as having positive effects, with many respondents reducing the frequency and severity of their self-harming behaviour as a consequence of group membership. Future work needs to address how typical the present findings are for Internet self-harm groups in general, and whether these groups are of any more (or less) benefit than current self-harm support groups that meet face-to-face.