Self-harm: cutting the bad out of me

Qual Health Res. 2000 Mar;10(2):164-73. doi: 10.1177/104973200129118345.


The practice of self-harm is increasing in the United Kingdom, accounting for the highest number of acute medical admissions for women. The medical and nursing response to repeaters, set within a climate of dwindling emergency and accident resources, has been one of impatience, frustration, and hostile care. The author undertook a correspondence study with 6 women who regularly self-harmed. The women claimed that medical and nursing professionals viewed their self-harm as irrational and illogical. However, a qualitative examination of the motivations and interests of all parties reveals that self-harm acts possess situated internal logic, whereas professionals tend to use rational logic in attempting to understand them.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Rationalization
  • Self-Injurious Behavior / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological
  • United Kingdom