Introduction: The understanding of the social representations about the functions of deliberate self-harm can be an important factor for the comprehension of this phenomenon. Nonetheless, only a few studies focused on this topic and specifically on the social representations from adolescents with and without a history of deliberate self-harm and their parents.
Methods: This article presents two studies that analysed these representations. Study 1 compared the social representations from 411 Portuguese adolescents (219 females and 192 males, aged 12-19 years), from which 109 reported having a history of deliberate self-harm. Study 2 focused on the comparison of the social representations from 471 parents (265 mothers and 206 fathers, aged 33-62 years) of Portuguese adolescents. Of the parents in Study 2, 120 had children with a history of deliberate self-harm.
Results: In Study 1, adolescents without a history of deliberate self-harm perceived most interpersonal functions as more relevant than adolescents with a history of these behaviours, while adolescents with a history of deliberate self-harm emphasized one intrapersonal function. In Study 2, no differences were found between parents of adolescents with and without a history of deliberate self-harm. However, results revealed differences between the representations of mothers and fathers in several intrapersonal functions.
Conclusions: This research provides important insight regarding the social representations about the functions of deliberate self-harm from adolescents with and without a reported history of these behaviours and their parents. The impact for clinical intervention and prevention programs is discussed.
Keywords: Adolescents; Deliberate self-harm; Functions; Parents; Representations.
Copyright © 2019 The Foundation for Professionals in Services for Adolescents. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.