An exploratory study into the factors which influence nursing staff's attributions, beliefs and behaviour towards individuals who self-harm
Dewis, Sally Marie
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Previous research into self-harm suggests that nurses frequently hold negative views about individuals who self-harm. In addition there is little consensus in the literature on definitions and causes of self-harm, or the impact of nurses' beliefs on their care giving to this group. This study aimed to explore nurses' attributions, beliefs and behaviour towards self-harm and to identify the impact of this work on nurses.Q Sort methodology was used in this study to investigate the attitudes and self reported behaviour of a group of nurses towards people who self-harm. Participants also completed a standardised measure of burnout.Factor analysis of Q sort responses resulted in eight factors reflecting mainly positive attitudes but some struggling to understand the individual who self-harms. Analysis yielded no differences between short and longer term working but nurses' personal accomplishment increased from training which discussed self-harm. Implications for theory, clinical practice and service delivery are discussed.